Coleridge and the unconscious

Metaphysics manifested in art

In the work of Samuel Coleridge we find a fascination with the unconscious mind. Like the German idealists, the much celebrated poet sought to explore the twilight between acts of agency and the creativity that appears to spring from an imagination beyond our control

No one knows when Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote his mysterious, insistently memorable poem ‘Kubla Khan’, but most scholars think it was the autumn of 1797. Coleridge, who would have been twenty-five if that’s right, had produced a masterpiece but it seems as though he did not know quite what to do with it. In succeeding years he recited it from memory at dinner parties as a turn, and to judge by the reports to remarkable effect, but he clearly did not think to publish the poem, as though not quite sure what he had produced: it only appeared, almost twenty years after its composition, because Byron, who had heard it recited, was so taken with it. Even then, in the preface he added to the poem Cole

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