1. Coleridge writes frequently about children, but, unlike other Romantic poets, he writes about his own children more often than he writes about himself as a child. With particular reference to “Frost at Midnight” and “The Nightingale,” how can Coleridge’s attitude toward children best be characterized? How does this attitude relate to his larger ideas of nature and the imagination?
2. Many of Coleridge’s poems—including “Frost at Midnight,” “The Nightingale,” and “Dejection: An Ode”—achieve their effect through the evocation of a dramatic scene in which the speaker himself is situated. How does Coleridge describe a scene simply by tracing his speaker’s thoughts? How does he imbue the scene with a sense of immediacy?
3. How does Coleridge’s poetry differ from the Romantic archetype articulated by Wordsworth in the preface to Lyrical Ballads? How does it resemble that archetype?
4. What are some of the ways in which we can interpret the peculiarities of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”—the archaisms, the side notes, etc.? Which interpretation seems most convincing? Why?
5. In many ways, “Kubla Khan” is a poem whose interpretation depends on a knowledge of events that occurred outside of the poem itself. How does the story of the person from Porlock affect the ways in which the poem can be understood? Is it possible to find any significance in “Kubla Khan” without knowledge of Coleridge’s opium dream?
6. Coleridge is often described as a “poet of the imagination.” What does this appellation mean? What role does imagination play in Coleridge’s work, both as a source and as a subject?
7. How does Coleridge create metaphors from natural objects and scenes? How does this practice support or conflict with his explicit opinions about the human tendency to impose our feelings upon nature, as in “The Nightingale”?
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