Kubla Khan Essay

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“Kubla Khan:” Dream Fragment or Ingenious Poetry Many critical opinions state that the poem “Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is nothing more than a poetic fragment resulting from a drug induced dream. This notion is understandable because his life was plagued by ill health and very public drug abuse. This same negative attitude often extended to Coleridge’s poetry. After reading the poem, one can see that the poem is much more than that. “Kubla Khan is a complex and carefully organized work that illustrates Coleridge’s poetic principals. Not only is Coleridge regarded as one of the great English Romantic poets, he was also a brilliant literary critic. His literary analysis attempted to define both the nature of poetry and the poet. A detailed reading of “Kubla Khan” indicates that the miraculous musical quality of the poem is produced by an amazingly intricate structure of metric and poetic devices. For Coleridge, such a complex tapestry of language is an integral part of his own view on poetics. In chapter XIV of his book entitled Biographia Literaria, he explains his philosophical and poetic principles, providing a multifaceted definition of poetry. Coleridge insists that any work having rhyme and rhythm may be described as a poem at the lowest level, simply because there is a pleasure derived from hearing recurring sounds and rhythms. However, he continues, for a poem to be “legitimate,” the parts must “mutually support and explain each other; all in their proportion harmonizing with and supporting the purpose and known influences of metrical arrangement.” True poetry must be a harmonious entity that “brings the whole soul of man into activity.” The meaning or truth of the poem is revealed through this harmony. For Coleridge, all of this should blend together in organic unity. Coleridge’s elegant rhyme in “Kubla Khan” helps to create unity. The
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