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Coleridge - the imagination and human experience

'How do Coleridge's conversation poems examine/affirm the power of the imagination to transform human experience?'
by

Stephanie Fernandez

on 2 June 2013

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Transcript of Coleridge - the imagination and human experience

Coleridge poem analysis "How do Coleridge's conversation poems examine/affirm the power of the imagination to transform human experience?" Imagination enhances emotion, and emotion enhances the imagination Imagination is the vehicle to transformation Imagination is the vehicle to transformation 'Frost at Midnight' 'Frost at Midnight' ' This Lime-Tree Bower
My Prison' ' This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison' Where we see this in ' This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison' Where we see this in 'Frost at Midnight' Imagination is so powerful - it is a way of communicating with God . '...and of such hues
As veil the Almighty Spirit, when yet he makes
Spirits perceive his presence.' 'The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible
Of that eternal language, which thy God
Utters, who from eternity doth teach
Himself in all, and all things in himself...' 'I have lost / Beauties and feelings' (he is
in isolation while friends 'whom [he] never more
may meet again, / on springy heath' - emotion >
imagination) >> 'Awake to Love and Beauty'
(after all imaginings - im > e).





'That we may lift the soul, and contemplate
With lively joy, the joys we cannot share'
(after all imaginings - im > e). '...so calm, that it disturbs
And vexes meditation with its strange
And extreme silentness...' (emotion > imagination).

'Making it a companionable form...
And makes a toy of thought' (settled by familiar film - im > e).

'For still I hoped to see the stranger's face
...My play-mate when we both were clothed alike!' (thoughts of himself as a child > own child - im > e).

'My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart
With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,
And think that thou shalt learn far other lore,
And in far other scenes!' (moves to imagery of child's future education and upbringing - e > im). '...that branchless ash,
Unsunn'd and damp, whose few poor yellow leaves...'

'Silent with swimming sense; yea, gazing round
On the wide landscape...'

'...and I watch'd
Some broad and sunny leaf, and lov'd to see
The shadow of the leaf and stem above
Dappling its sunshine'

'...Henceforth I shall know
That Nature ne'er deserts the wise and pure...' '...For I was reared
In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim,
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars'

'But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze
By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags
Of ancient mountains, and beneath the clouds,
Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores
And mountain crags'

'The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible
Of that eternal language, which thy God
Utters...'

'Himself in all, and all things in himself.' 'This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison':

'This lime-tree bower my prison!'

'This little lime-tree bower, have I not mark'd
Much that has sooth'd me.' 'This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison':
Begins poem in petulance.
Imagines friends in nature without him.
Expansion not only to world outside his bower but to a 'wide wide Heaven' and the universe.
Appreciation of living within nature (unlike Lamb). Ideas from the quotation:
identity is shaped by religion.
religion answers life's Qs - life, death Idea from the quotation:
God is the teacher, and creator of the universe's 'lovely sounds and shapes' >> shaping of identity with religion. Imagination Sublime New experience + growth and understanding Appreciation of nature Communication with God 'Shine in the slant beams of the sinking orb,Ye
purple-heath flowers! Richlier burn, ye clouds!
...Struck with deep joy...' (im > e). 'My gentle-hearted Charles! when the last rook
Beat its straight path along the dusky air
Homewards, I blest it!' (revival of spirit from imaginings - e > im). appreciation of nature and communication with God sublime and new experience, growth and understanding appreciation of nature and communication with God sublime and new experience, growth and understanding Inaction can be overcome through imagination Imagination > innovation > transformation 'Frost at Midnight':

'Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,
Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing...
Making it a companionable form...'

[Moves from home to thoughts of childhood] 'Save if the door half opened, and I snatched
A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped up,
For still I hoped to see the stranger's face,
Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved,
My play-mate when we both were clothed alike!'

[Moves from thoughts of childhood to his child] Imagination > Innovation > Transformation 'Frost at Midnight':
Begins poem in vexation due to the 'extreme silentness'.
'Companionable' film triggers childhood memories.
Brought back to the image of his child and his future.
Relief at child not having to live in London as he did. Inaction can be overcome through imagination 'This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison':

'Friends... wander in gladness, and wind down, perchance, / To that still roaring dell...'

'Now, my friends emerge / Beneath the wide wide Heaven - and view again / The many-steepled tract magnificent / Of hilly fields and meadows...'

'My gentle-hearted Charles!'

'So my friend / Struck with deep joy may stand, as I have stood / Silent with swimming sense...'

'A delight / Comes sudden on my heart...'

'Homewards, I blest it!' 'Frost at Midnight':

'This populous village! ...With all the numberless goings-on of life, / Inaudible as dreams! ...Only that film ...the sole, unquiet thing.'

Whole third paragraph: 'How oft, at school... Fixed with mock study on my swimming book...'

'Dear Babe... Whose gentle breathings... Fill up the intersperséd vacancies / And momentary pauses of the thought!'
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