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LiteraturaII.D'Alessandro-2010. S T Coleridge Kubla Kahn

LiteraturaII.D'Alessandro-2010. S T Coleridge Kubla Kahn

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge"Kubla Kahn" (1816)
 ALL ANSWERS MUST BE TYPED. Leave yourself ample room to add class notes.Your grade will be derived from the typed portions of your answers.
Print out a copy of thepoem
 
and Coleridge'snoteon its composition and bringboth to class.
 
Introduction
 Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) was the son of a respectable countryclergyman and his wife. He was the youngest of 14 children, and, as his father’sfavorite, spent much of his childhood with adults. He quickly developed into aprecocious speaker and reader. He went to Cambridge University but spent moretime enjoying city life than studying. This cost him an important scholarship and heleft in 1794 without a degree. He spent the next few years writing sporadically andunevenly until 1797 when he met Wordsworth and their poetic collaboration began.However, since Coleridge's family was not wealthy, he decided reluctantly to enter the clergy in order to support himself. Fortunately, his work found favor with theWedgwood family. They offered him a modest annual stipend so that he couldcontinue his study and writing.Coleridge's work is complex and diverse, reflecting the breadth and depth of hiseducation. He was an impressive scholar who could read and write Greek, Latin,French, and German with ease. Over the course of his career, Coleridge wrote onmost of the major issues concerning the British public, including religion, morals,politics, the imagination, literature, landscape, and philosophy. He published work ina variety of genres, including essays, theoretical treatises, public lectures, dramas,and magazine articles. Coleridge wrote relatively little poetry, but the poetry he didwrite demonstrates an astonishing range of styles. Today, literary critics tend toconsider his "mystery" poems to be his greatest work:
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner 
, “Christabel,” and “Kubla Khan.”Literary historians usually identify Coleridge as a Romantic poet. They group him withWilliam Blake, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, George Gordon, LordByron, and John Keats. However, we should note that this label has been imposedretrospectively by twentieth-century critics: during their lifetimes, and for severaldecades after their death, they were not understood as part of a coherent group, nor did they understand themselves this way. Nevertheless, they do have commoninterests. Coleridge Wordsworth, and Blake are usually identified as the "firstgeneration" of Romantics. They came of age as poets during the first wave of enthusiasm for the French Revolution. As young adults, therefore, they believed inthe ideals originally associated with it. Although all became disillusioned with thecourse France subsequently took, they still knew the heady optimism of its earlydays: all three learned to look at the world with the hope that it could be transformed
 
and remade by visionaries and revolutionaries. IN part as a result of this, these poetsemphasize the power of the human imagination. Like Gray, these poets take as their subject imaginative capabilities of human beings. But whereas Wordsworth's earlywork celebrates the power of the poetic imagination to escape the realities of theeveryday world, Coleridge's poetry tends to explore a darker side of the psyche. Hiswork suggests a profound ambivalence about the poet's visionary powers. InColeridge's poetry, the power of the poetic imagination is both marvelous andfrightening. The visions it offers are both fascinating and terrifying. And the poet whorecords his or her visions runs the risk of complete isolation from the social world.Whereas Wordsworth's "I wandered Lonely as a Cloud" celebrates the solitarytranscendence made possible by imaginative vision, Coleridge's "Kubla Kahn"suggests that this isolation can forever distance the poet from other people, and thusfrom the more mundane pleasures of "ordinary life." As you read “Kubla Khan,”consider the precarious quality of the speaker's vision. How does its appearancesuggest its insubstantiality? What threatens the imaginary world of the Kahn? Whatkind of language characterizes the suggestive descriptions of the landscape? Whatdoes the poem suggest about imaginative visions in general through the descriptionsin this poem?Visit the Samuel Taylor Coleridge archive at the University of Virginia.
Snapshot
 
Print out a copy of thepoem
 
and Coleridge'snoteon its composition and bringboth to class.
 
Author:Title:Date of publication:
1. Scan ten lines from each section (1 - 11; 12 - 36; 37 - end). Note any difficultpassages and introduce them during class discussion. (20 points)2. What is the form of the poem? What is the meter of the poem? (20 points)3. The poem divides itself into three long verse paragraphs: 1 - 11; 12 - 36; 37 - end.Write a brief (four to five sentence) discussion of 
one
of these sections in which youcomment on some significant aspect of its form and content. Provide at least threequotations to illustrate your work. (30 points)5. Draw a diagram of the landscape described by the poem. Label all importantlandmarks: rivers, walls, towers, and mountains. (30 points)
If you would like to write an essay on the poem, you might consider thefollowing topics.
 
How do the title
and
subtitle try to shape the reader's expectation of the poemto follow?
Analyze a passage that includes a detailed description. Consider its wordchoice, use of figurative language, and the particular details it provides, anddemonstrate its importance to the poem as a whole.
 
Identify and explicate a passage of figurative language: a metaphor, simile, or use of some other figurative device. Analyze on its relationship to the poem asa whole.
Write a brief paragraph commenting on the pleasure dome itself. What do welearn about it from the poem? Does it sound like a building that could ever really exist? What might it symbolize for the speaker?
Write a brief paragraph on the final image of the poem. What does thespeaker imagine will happen if he begins to sing the song of the Abyssianmaid (39)? What will be his fate if he can recreate her song in its originalglory? You might consider the shift from past tense to subjunctive mode at line42.
Extra credit: 3 points each
Outline, in two or three sentences, two or three essay topics that would compare andcontrast specific aspects of this poem with Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as aCloud."
Kubla Kahn
I
n Xanadu did Kubla KhanA stately pleasure-dome decree :Where Alph, the sacred river, ranThrough caverns measureless to manDown to a sunless sea.So twice five miles of fertile groundWith walls and towers were girdled round :And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;And here were forests ancient as the hills,Enfoldingsunny spots of greenery. But oh ! that deep romantic chasm which slantedDown the green hill athwart a cedarn cover !A savage place ! as holy and enchantedAs e'er beneath a waning moon was hauntedBy woman wailing for her demon-lover !And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,A mighty fountain momentlywas forced : Amid whose swift half-intermitted burstHuge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail :And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever It flung up momently the sacred river.Five miles meandering with a mazy motionThrough wood and dale the sacred river ran,

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