Kubla Khan: A Dream, or Something Greater

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“A poet ought not to pick nature's pocket. Let him borrow, and so borrow as to repay by the very act of borrowing. Examine nature accurately, but write from recollection, and trust more to the imagination than the memory.” Coleridge followed his own advice in the crafting of Kubla Khan; which presents his interpretation of the Kubla Khan court when under the influence of opiates. Due to the complexity of the poem, many have found that the poem lacks a true theme but instead focuses on “the nature and dialectical process of poetic creation.” Coleridge created a masterpiece by providing the readers room for personal interpretation but also a poem so well crafted that it illustrates the Romantic period as a whole.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was the youngest of his family and was sent to Christ's Hospital School in London. He continued his studies at Cambridge University but left to join the army due to financial troubles. After being bailed out of the army by his friends, Coleridge returned to Cambridge. Coleridge befriended Robert Southey and they attempted to establish a community founded on their utopian philosophies about society. Unfortunately, this did not work out and Coleridge returned to settle down with Sara Fricker. Later, Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth collaborated on Lyrical Ballads in hopes of “revolutionizing the practice of contemporary poetry.” As Coleridge continued to publish his work, he became addicted to opium, taking it to relieve his neuralgic and rheumatic pains. This opium addiction led to one of his best pieces that would forever be analyzed- Kubla Khan.

After waking from a semi-conscious state, Coleridge rushed to write down the lines to Kubla Khan that he received when using opium. Unfortun...

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...f one of life's greatest mysteries – dreams.

Works Cited

"Kubla Khan, Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Introduction." Poetry Criticism. Ed. David Galens. Vol. 39. Gale Cengage, 2002. 26 Feb, 2012

Karen Mahar: Coleridge's "Kubla Khan": Creation of Genius or Addiction?. Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal. 2006. Volume 1 Number 1.

Stephen P Thornton.“Sigmund Freud 1856-1939.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 16 Apr. 2001.Web. 26 Feb. 2012.

A.S.M Shamim Miah. “Kubla Khan: A Poem of Sexual Ambiguity.” East West Journal of Humanities (2009): 1-13. Vol-1, No. 1, ISSN: 1998-1600. Web. 26 Mar. 2012

Hot Essays. 28 Mar. 2011. web. 26 Feb. 2012.

“Samuel Taylor Coleridge.” Academy of American Poets. n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2012
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