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Coleridge’s Poetry

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Context

Table of Contents

Analysis

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in Devon in 1772. His father, a clergyman, moved his family to London when Coleridge was young, and it was there that Coleridge attended school (as he would later recall in poems such as “Frost at Midnight”). He later attended Cambridge but left without completing his studies. During the politically charged atmosphere of the late eighteenth century—the French Revolution had sent shockwaves through Europe, and England and France were at war—Coleridge made a name for himself both as a political radical and as an important young poet; along with his friends Robert Southey and William Wordsworth, he became one of the most important writers in England. Collaborating with Wordsworth on the revolutionary Lyrical Ballads of 1798, Coleridge helped to inaugurate the Romantic era in England; as Wordsworth explained it in the 1802 preface to the third edition of the work, the idea of poetry underlying Lyrical Ballads turned the established conventions of poetry upside down: Privileging natural speech over poetic ornament, simply stated themes over elaborate symbolism, emotion over abstract thought, and the experience of natural beauty over urban sophistication, the book paved the way for two generations of poets, and stands as one of the milestones of European literature.

While Coleridge made important contributions to Lyrical Ballads, it was much more Wordsworth’s project than Coleridge’s; thus, while it is possible to understand Wordsworth’s poetic output in light of his preface to the 1802 edition of the volume, the preface’s ideas should not be used to analyze Coleridge’s work. Insofar as Wordsworth was the poet of nature, the purity of childhood, and memory, Coleridge became the poet of imagination, exploring the relationships between nature and the mind as it exists as a separate entity. Poems such as “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and “Kubla Khan” demonstrate Coleridge’s talent for concocting bizarre, unsettling stories full of fantastic imagery and magic; in poems such as “Frost at Midnight” and “Dejection: An Ode,” he muses explicitly on the nature of the mind as it interacts with the creative source of nature.

Coleridge married in 1795 and spent much of the next decade living near and traveling with Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy. In 1799, Coleridge met Sara Hutchinson, with whom he fell deeply in love, forming an attachment that was to last many years. Coleridge became an opium addict (it is thought that “Kubla Khan” originated from an opium dream) and, in 1816, moved in with the surgeon James Gillman in order to preserve his health. During the years he lived with Gillman, Coleridge composed many of his important non-fiction works, including the highly regarded Biographia Literaria. However, although he continued to write until his death in 1834, Romanticism was always a movement about youth, and today Coleridge is remembered primarily for the poems he wrote while still in his twenties.

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Q. Consider, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" as a poem of crime and punishment.

by touhidsm, May 03, 2014

Ans: Through stages of penance, repentance, absolution and redemption, Coleridge is able to depict the idea of salvation in ‘The Rime of Ancient Mariner’.
The Rime of Ancient Mariner is one of the most famous three poems of S. T. Coleridge. The poem was planned by Wordsworth and Coleridge on the afternoon of the 20th November, 1797, when they were walking in the Quantocks. Read the full answer FREE at

http://josbd.com/coleridge_3.html

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Q. Discuss the allegorical significance of the Mariner's sufferings in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner".

by touhidsm, May 03, 2014

Answer: An allegory is described as a fictional literary narrative or artistic expression that conveys a symbolic meaning parallel to but distinct from, and more important than, the literal meaning. This is true in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” This poem is an allegory that symbolizes the inherent struggle of humans facing the ideas of sin and redemption. Read the full answer at

http://josbd.com/coleridge_2.html

Q. Discuss, Coleridge’s Kubla Khan as an Illustration of Romanticism.

by touhidsm, May 03, 2014

Ans: The Romantic lives in a world, not of things, but of images; not of laws, but of metaphors. Although best known for his poetry, Samuel Taylor Coleridge was also an important literary critic who helped to popularize the Romantic Movement among English speaking peoples. Romanticism had emerged from the German Sturm und Drang movement of the second half of the eighteenth century, which itself had arisen as a reaction to Enlightenment philosophy and values. Read the full answer at

http://josbd.com/Kubla_Khan_1.html

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