Kubla Khan Essay

Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a poem which at first glance appears to be an epic poem. However, Kubla Khan is actually the introduction of the poem and only describes how Kublai Khan came to power. Kublai was the grandson of Genghis Khan and inherited his grandfather’s empire. Kublai was ruler of the Mongols from 1260-1294. Kubla Khan was ruler from 1215 to 1294 making Kublai the elder by thirty years.

The poem Kubla Khan tells how Kublai has a great palace and garden built for him in Xanadu, which is an actual place found in Mongolia near where Kublai once lived before he gained his position as leader of the Mongol empire. The Kha’Khan palace was very sumptuous and large, though it didn’t compare to Kubla’s garden that was described to be ten miles square with a sacred river running through it. In this passage from Kubla Khan , what Coleridge is describing is Kublai’s control and power:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river ran,

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea. (qtd. In Kubla Khan 8-12).

In this way Kublai controlled himself and his lands, bending nature of an area that had been around for thousands of years to serve him as a leader/ruler of his people. Kubla Khan is meant to be a poem about Kublai’s greatness only briefly mentioned by Coleridge in Kubla Khan.

It can be said that due to not being able to finish Kubla Kahn, it leaves the reader with some questions without any answers as to why Kubla Khan could not finish his poem. Kublai had the power to control nature, but he couldn’t finish writing a poem? Is Kubla Kahn an epic about Kublai’s powers of leadership? Only one can truly know what Kubla Khan is meant to be, though it is still an enjoyable read with its own mysterious qualities.

Coleridge was living with his wife Sara and their three children at Greta Hall, Keswick, in the north of England. Kubla Khan was composed during September and October 1797 (Hartley Coleridge four years later put the date as 16-20 October), but it was not until 21 April 1816 that Coleridge offered these verses to the printer, Richard Cha Michael, for publication in Sibylline Leaves.

Although they were dated “Xanadu, 20th November 1797”, Kubla Khan must have been far from finished when Coleridge made this notation on a thirty-page manuscript containing lines 27-108. He had evidently long-cherished Kubla Khan, however: in a letter of 18 April 1797 he spoke of the “structure” he planned for it, while in another dated 13 January 1800 he spoke of his plans for it as including fifty or sixty lines.

The poem Kubla Khan has been described as an “emblematic Romantic text”. It is also one of the most influential poems in English literature, having inspired many translations. Kubla Khan presents itself as a dramatic monologue spoken by Kublai Khan, who is being informed that his empire will be destroyed unless the incestuous love of Kublai’s ancestor for his own mother can be redeemed through true love.

Kubla Khan is an example of the way in which his Eastern studies and reading found their way into a poem: Kubla Khan is by far one of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s most popular and well-known poems. It was written near Bristol, England; after waking from a dream. Kubla Khan Kubla Khan was written during Coleridge’s famous walking tour through the English countryside with William Wordsworth. Kubla Khan Kubla Kahn has been called one of the best examples of short poetry ever composed. Kubla Kahn is widely held as one of the greatest works of literature that was ever published during its time, and it remains an example for modern-day writers on how to write effective and beautiful poetry.

Kubla Khan and Kubla Khan: A Vision and other poems, Samuel Taylor Coleridge ‘Kubla Kahn’, with its exotic imagery and symbols, rich vocabulary and rhythms, written, by Coleridge’s account, under the influence of laudanum, was often considered a brilliant work, but without any defined theme.

However, despite its complexity the poem can be read as a well-constructed exposition on human genius and art. The theme of life and nature again appears in ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, where the effect on nature of a crime against the power of life is presented in the form of a ballad.

The poem Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is an exotic poem with rich vocabulary and rhythms. Kubla Khan is written under the influence of laudanum, a liquid mixture containing opium or morphine, but despite this Kubla Khan does have a defined theme. The theme is human genius/art and nature appears in The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner as well.

It is similarly tempting to assume that Kubla Khan was conceived under the influence of opium; but Coleridge himself, who quite frequently mentioned his use of opium, did not make this claim.

Kubla Khan (composed 1797-98) is one of Coleridge’s longest poems and greatest fragments. It contains what has often been considered the quintessential Romantic image: Kubla Khan’s stately pleasure dome decreeing “A statelier Eden…never did exist” (stanza 14). The poem has attracted much commentary because its subject matter has proved so enigmatic. Read in light of Kubla Khan’s extensive use of contrastive stanzas, iambic meter, archaic diction, abrupt transitions, and psychological subtext, Schneider’s Kubla Khan is an original contribution to the study of Romantic poetry.

She reveals that although Kubla Khan has always been admired for its extraordinary sensory images, no one has yet investigated how they interact with Kubla Khan’s subtle use of synesthesia, which she identifies as a key element in the poem’s aesthetic power. Kubla Khan’s style represents “the epitome of Coleridge’s poetical manner.”

Schneider’s reading of Kubla Khan’s cryptic stateliness necessitates re-reading Kubla Khan itself; she contends that the famous opening lines are not simply about pleasure but are an ironic illusion masking pain. This interpretation also allows Kubla Khan to be read as a poem about Kubla Khan’s stately pleasure dome and Kubla Khan’s breakup with his lover.

Schneider defends this reading by exploring Kubla Khan’s psychological subtext and analyzing Kubla Khan’s archaic diction, abrupt transitions, and use of the word “statelier.” She also discusses Kubla Khan’s imagery as Kubla Khan’s source of power and how Kubla Kahn uses dynamic contrasts in order to imply the beauty Kubla Kahn sees but cannot touch.

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