Kubla Khan Essay

Kubla Khan Essay

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In the opening lines of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s paradoxical poem “Kubla Khan,” we see an approach to literacy that is far different than his predecessors. This is partly due to his role as one of the founders of the Romantic Era. Coleridge, along with William Wordsworth, published an anthology of poems entitled “Lyrical Ballads.” This collection was the beginning of an overwhelming movement to praise the power of imagination rather than that of reason. While “Kubla Khan” was not a part of this work, it is still a clear depiction of all of the ideals of Romanticism such as the importance of imagination, nature, emotion and individualism. This poem is also set apart by its untraditional origin. Coleridge claims to have dreamt this poem after indulging himself on opium. This provides ample evidence for the eccentric and psychedelic imagery that is presented throughout the piece as well as the sudden shifts in tone and subject matter. While the credibility of this work has been called into question on several occasions and its meaning is heavily debated, this is without a doubt one of the greatest romantic poems ever written (Sterling).
In the poem’s first stanza, Coleridge begins to describe the ancient city of Xanadu. This was the ancient city in Mongolia from where Kubla Khan ruled his empire. This historically significant introduction gives readers the impression that the poem is grounded in reality. The poem begins its steady transition from realism to imagination, however, when Coleridge refers to the river Alph. While the true identity of the river is unknown, it is believed by many scholars to actually be an allusion to the River Alpheus which was a recurring entity throughout Greek mythology (Shmoop Editorial Team). It is...


... middle of paper ...


...God. While there are many different views that can be spliced together, I am in total agreement with John Spencer Hill when he says, “it is probably no exaggeration to say that no single interpretation of ‘Kubla Khan’ has ever wholly satisfied anyone except the person who proposed it.” I am confident that the truth of this statement shall ring true forever.










Works Cited
Dea, A. "Poetry." Kubla Khan:Analysis. Bookstove, 06 Jan 2008. Web. 2 Apr 2011. .
Hill , John Spencer. A Coleridge Companion: Interpretive approaches to Kubla Khan. London: Macmillan, 1983. Print.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "Kubla Khan." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 06 Apr 2011.
Eric, Sterling. "Samuel Taylor Coleridge."Enlightenment-Revolution. Auburn Montgomery University, 04 Apr 2008. Web. 1 Apr 2011.

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