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Compare and differentiate the nature of the imagination in Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth and Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Essay Example

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Wordsworth and Coleridge, as individuals, were two of the most important influences on the philosophical tenets and aesthetic sensibilities of the Romantic movement. Together, they published one of its most important works, Lyrical Ballads. Yet, despite this firm connection, it…
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Compare and differentiate the nature of the imagination in Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth and Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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Download file to see previous pages erences could be more marked that in Coleridges “Kubla Khan”, and Wordsworths “Tintern Abbey”, two poems that are as different in tone, subject matter, and treatment that it seems possible for two poems to be. “Kubla Khan” is an elaborate and sensual adventure, it is fantastical and a phonic treat, conjuring amazing, startling images in the minds eye and enacting this creation through the medium of sybaritic, mesmerising poetry. “Tintern Abbey”, on the other hand, written as it is in blank verse, is more austere and more consciously philosophical. Its dominant mode is not that of the image, but of thought, its rhythm more steady. These differences, albeit whilst they mask some similarities, are indicative of Wordsworth and Coleridges divergent understanding of the nature of the imagination.
For a large part of the critical history of “Kubla Khan”, the poem has been considered as something slight, when it was published it was considered nothing more interesting that a nonsense poem. This reading is certainly a mistake and one made, I imagine, because of a misunderstanding of how to read the poem. It cannot be read, or at least to understand its significance it should not be read, on an ordinary level, for its word by word, phrase by phrase significances. Rather the very motion of the poem, its exaltation in creation is its sense; the poems means of creation is equal to what is created. In other words, the meaning of this imaginative poem, a poem that the imagination has slaved long over, is imagination itself.
If we see the imagination at work as that which is represented in the poem, then we can also decipher precisely what the nature of imagination is in Coleridges conception. For example, in the very first stanza we see Kubla Khan “decree” his “stately pleasure dome” (2). Note that he decrees it, he does not decree that it be built. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, its construction begins: “So twice five miles of fertile ground / ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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