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Critically discuss Coleridge's interest in the Psychology of

artistic creation:
Coleridge's idea of artistic creation functions as a synthesis. In fact, much of his discourse on the
imagination and creativity involves an integration of parts to form a whole. In Chapter 14 of Biographia
Literaria, he describes the poem as such:

A poem is that species of composition, which is opposed to works of science, by proposing for
its immediate object pleasure, not truth; and from all other species (having this object in common with it) it is
discriminated by proposing to itself such delight from the whole, as is compatible with a distinct gratification
from each component part.

Just as the individual parts of a poem work in tandem with the poem as a whole, the artistic process of
creation is also a synthesis of disparate things working together; therefore, a synthesis.

Coleridge differentiated three components involved in poetic creation (similar to the Holy Trinity - he was a
devout Christian - and similar at least in number to Freud's Id, Ego, and Superego). Since Coleridge
predates Freud by a century, there was no influence there. But the Christian influence certainly played a role
in Coleridge's unified (Trinity) notion of poetic creation as a holistic and spiritual act.

Coleridge's three aspects are the primary imagination, the secondary imagination, and fancy. The primary is
the "living Power and prime Agent of all human Perception, and as a repetition in the finite mind of the
eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM." (Chapter 13) Here, he links the idea of artistic creation with a
spirituality, even comparing it to a repetition of the original creator: God ("I AM" comes from Exodus 3.14).
So, the primary imagination is the spiritual ability to create; it is abstract but can be tapped into if the poet is
in tune to this power while also being in tune to his own will (secondary imagination) and things in the world.
Consider that the secondary imagination is "an echo" of the primary: "It dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in
order to recreate . . ." Fancy is a mode of memory "emancipated from the order of time and space."
So, the process of creation is a combination of these three things. The poet taps into this eternal, spiritual
creativity; he/she uses conscious will, thus being open to spiritual creation but also in tune with conscious
experience on earth; and finally, the poet uses things from memory: abstract ideas and objects in the world
from which to symbolize and exemplify his/her creations. In this trinity, Coleridge explains a holistic act of
creation that is of this world (using objects and experiences, and dreams which hover between the real and
the abstract), but also of a spiritual nature. For this and other reasons, he was an influence on Emerson and
the American Transcendentalists.


What does Coleridge mean when he says he wrote his

poetry "to procure for these shadows of imagination that
willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which
constitutes poetic faith"? What...
What does Coleridge mean when he says he wrote his poetry "to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing
suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith"? What examples do we see in Coleridge's poems
that reflect Coleridge's statement?

Both Coleridge and Wordsworth believed that poetry could do one of two things, either make the reader sympathize with
the truths presented in the words by consistently presenting nature in its truth, or make the reader interested in the
words by captivating the imagination. Hence, Wordsworth focused on writing about nature and every day life,
while Coleridge focusedon writing about the supernatural and mankind's interaction with the supernatural. Coleridge
believed that such supernatural poetry could be seen as emotionally stimulating because such poems could be seen as
realin as much as any human being has ever thought himself/herself to be under the influence of the supernatural.
Therefore, Coleridge states of his poetry that he created poems which were both "supernatural" or "romantic" yet able to
reflect enough about human nature as "to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief
for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith" (Hill, "Imagination in Coleridge"). When he refers to "shadows of the
imagination," he is simply speaking of the supernatural elements he included in his poem that reflect on any hidden
supernatural beliefs humankind already holds in their imaginations or minds, like the belief in ghosts. When he speaks
of "suspension of disbelief for the moment," he is speaking of the fact that while not everyone may believe in the
supernatural under every normal circumstance, he wrote his poems in such a way that a reader "suspends" disbelief,
meaning refrains from concluding that the content is unbelievable, which in simple terms only means that he wrote his
poems in such as a way as they might seem believable. So, all in all, what he's saying here is simply that he wrote his
supernatural poems in a way that they would be believable for the readerand able to evoke genuine emotions in the
reader. Coleridge lists The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, "The Dark Ladie," and "Christable" as his examples of romantic,
supernatural poetry.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a classic example of Coleridge's use of the supernatural. The poem is a tale of a
mariner giving an account of a voyage to the Antarctic in which, as the ship sales past the horizon, the ship drops "Below
the kirk, below the hill, / Below the lighthouse top," meaning below the church and below all of civilization. Even
Coleridge's opening reference to a "Bridegroom" and the mariner as a "Wedding-Guest" conjure up supernatural
images for the reader because, while the mariner is literally talking to a bridegroom, a bridegroom is also a symbolic,
biblical referenceto Jesus Christ, and the wedding guest symbolizes members of Christ's church. The story continues to
speak of the mariner shooting an albatross. Albatrosses were believed to bring good luck to sailors, and the result is
that the mariner's entire crew dies and haunts the mariner. Since readers, especially readers of Coleridge's time, will
recognize the supernatural meaning behind these symbols, such as the supernatural element of faith in the divine and the
supernatural element of belief in good luck, the readers will be able to feel the emotions the symbols evoke and find
the tale believable in the sense that the reader can relate to experiencing the supernatural.

Q no 3

Comment on themes in Coleridge's "Youth and Age."

Themes of Romanticism can be found in Coleridge's poem. The emphasis on the natural world is a critical
element in the poem and something found in many of the poem's lines. The opening lines in the poem are
akin to an invocation of the natural world: "Verse, a breeze 'mid blossoms straying,/ Where Hope clung
feeding, like a bee." "Friendship is a sheltering tree" or "Love is flower- like" and "tears take sunshine from
thine eyes" are all examples of the presence of nature in the poem. Romantic thinkers like Coleridge
emphasized a strong link between consciousness and the experience of the natural world and Coleridge
underscores this connection in the poem.

Additionally, I think that the Romantic theme of subjective emotions being used to construct reality is present
in the poem. Romantics believed that the subjective emotional experience was the only acceptable frame of
reference to understand reality. They wanted to inject emotions and feelings into as many domains as
possible. The subjective experience on what it means to be young is a part of Coleridge's poem. He wishes
to explore the joy in being young and revel in it from an emotional point of view. The hopeful view of youth
and the reveling of it from a subjective frame of reference are elements that capture the theme of personal
experience that is so much a part of the poem and Romanticism, as a movement.

Coleridge's speaker laments the losses that come with age as the poem begins:

"Verse, a breeze mid blossoms straying,

Where Hope clung feeding, like a bee—
Both were mine!"
to establish that when he was younger, poetry and hope were in his realm of being.

In the second stanza, the speaker characterizes his youthful physical state as strong and effortless. He was
impervious to the elements as "Nought cared this body for wind or weather/When Youth and I lived in't
together." The speaker is unwilling to accept the loss of his youth when he cries "It cannot be that Thou art

As the poem continues, the speaker decides that he will deny the truth of his aging. He recognizes that his
hair is gray and that he is smaller and more bent, but he avers that life actually takes place in the mind. He
resolves to think of himself as young, concluding that without this hope, the rest of his life becomes a
cheerless wait for death.
Themes within this interpretation of the poem include the power of purpose and hope in our lives to keep us
going, and that though our physical bodies will eventually fail, our youthful outlook can be retained in spirit.
Q no 4

Examine how Coleridge sees poetry is a mode of

I think that Coleridge does view poetry as a source of knowledge. One of Coleridge's primary points is the
idea that poetic analysis and poetic expression can represent a way in which one knows the world around
them. Coleridge makes the point that the poetic exploration of the individual allows them to better
understand the nature of themselves and their world. Poetry is seen as something that is reflective of both
the individual components of the world as well as the world itself. In this pivot to bridge subjective and
external perceptions of reality, Coleridge makes it clear that poetry can be seen as a form or mode of
knowledge. Coleridge understands clearly that the idea here is to explore the poetic form or mode as a way
to perceive and to understand reality. In this construction, it is evident that poetry is not dismissed as
something trivial. It can bring greater understanding towards what is understood and perceived and what
can be gained in a larger sensibility. Through such an idea, Coleridge is able to fully grasp how poetry is a
mode of knowledge and a reservoir through which greater understanding can emerge.