Kubla Khan   Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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Kubla Khan Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Analysis of Poem

Analysis of Poem

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Kubla Khan   Samuel Taylor Coleridge Kubla Khan Samuel Taylor Coleridge Presentation Transcript

  • “ a place of great beauty, luxury, and contentment”
  • Xanadu... To stand within the Pleasuredome Decreed by Kubla Khan To taste a new the fruits of life The last immortal man To find the sacred river Alph To walk the caves of ice Oh, I will dine on honeydew And drink the milk of Paradise Farewell to Kings (1977) Album by Canadian band “Rush”
  • Xanadu, Xanadu, (now we are here) in Xanadu Xanadu, your neon lights will shine for you, Xanadu A place where nobody dared to go, the love that we came to know They call it Xanadu And now, open your eyes and see, what we have made is real We are in Xanadu A million lights are dancing and there you are, a shooting star An everlasting world and you're here with me, eternally Chorus: Xanadu, Xanadu, (now we are here) in Xanadu Xanadu, Xanadu, (now we are here) in Xanadu Xanadu, your neon lights will shine for you, Xanadu The love, the echoes of long ago, you needed the world to know They are in Xanadu The dream that came through a million years That lived on through all the tears, it came to Xanadu A million lights are dancing and there you are, a shooting star An everlasting world and you're here with me, eternally Chorus View slide
  • Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1985) In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree View slide
  • 1797 “ opium induced vision”
  • “ Kubla Kahn A Vision in a Dream” Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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  • 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. So twice five miles of fertile ground With walls and towers were girdled round: And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover! A savage place! as holy and enchanted As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted By woman wailing for her demon lover! And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething, As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, A mighty fountain momently was forced: Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail: And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever It flung up momently the sacred river. Five miles meandering with a mazy motion Through wood and dale the sacred river ran, Then reached the caverns measureless to man, And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean: And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far Ancestral voices prophesying war! The shadow of the dome of pleasure Floated midway on the waves; Where was heard the mingled measure From the fountain and the caves. It was a miracle of rare device, A sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice! A damsel with a dulcimer In a vision once I saw: It was an Abyssinian maid, And on her dulcimer she played, Singing of Mount Abora. Could I revive within me Her symphony and song, To such a deep delight 'twould win me, That with music loud and long, I would build that dome in air, That sunny dome! those caves of ice! And all who heard should see them there, And all should cry, Beware! Beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair! Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honey-dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise.
  • Xanadu Shang Du, in China
    • summer capital of Kubla Khan who was the founder of the great Mongol dynasty.
    • 180 miles north of Beijing. 
    • Kubla Khan built a great 'garden of delights' with a 'pleasure dome' at the centre. 
    • soldiers were drugged and convinced that they were waking up in paradise - ruse - happily fight in the emperor's battles
  • The poem contrasts a man-made, earthly paradise with a “true” form of paradise. Xanadu is unable to resist the demonic forces and is doomed to be annihilated.
  • 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. So twice five miles of fertile ground With walls and towers were girdled round: And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
    • SECTION 1 (lines 1 – 11)
    • Introduction to ruler, place, and decree
    • Kubla Kahn decrees an earthly paradise, Xanadu
    • Fulfulment of the decree
  • But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover! A savage place! as holy and enchanted As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted By woman wailing for her demon lover! And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething, As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, A mighty fountain momently was forced: Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail: And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever It flung up momently the sacred river. Five miles meandering with a mazy motion Through wood and dale the sacred river ran, Then reached the caverns measureless to man, And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean: And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far Ancestral voices prophesying war!
    • SECTION 2
    • (lines 12 - 30)
    • Evil reasserts itself – woman and demonic lover
    • Eruption – flow of lava
    • Prophecies of war
  • The shadow of the dome of pleasure Floated midway on the waves; Where was heard the mingled measure From the fountain and the caves. It was a miracle of rare device, A sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice!
    • SECTION 3 (lines 31 – 36)
    • Images of a waning paradise
  • A damsel with a dulcimer In a vision once I saw: It was an Abyssinian maid, And on her dulcimer she played, Singing of Mount Abora. Could I revive within me Her symphony and song, To such a deep delight 'twould win me, That with music loud and long, I would build that dome in air, That sunny dome! those caves of ice! And all who heard should see them there, And all should cry, Beware! Beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair! Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honey-dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise.
    • SECTION 4 (lines 37 – 54)
    • Vision of heavenly maid with a zither
    • Lingering impression
    • Visionary concept of a “true” paradise
  • What is it all about?
    • “ metaphorical journey through a complex labyrinth of symbols and images that represent the unconscious and seemingly troubled mind”
    • “ a mosaic of fragments of thoughts and incomplete themes”
    • “ intentional ambiguity”
    • “ Mr Coleridge can write better nonsense verses than any man in England.” (William Hazlitt)
    • “ a dissolving phantasmagoria”
  • What is it all about?
    • “ the poetic process”
    • “ a poem about poetry”
    • “ This poem is metapoetry. It is poetry about poetry.”
    • Wide range of interpretations:
      • Sex: pleasuredome = penis, chasm = vagina, fountain = sperm, caverns, wombs etc. etc. etc.
      • Nature if greater than man: Kubla khan tries to capture and “train” nature
      • Imagination and the process of creation (esp. poetry)
  • What is it all about?
    • Describes a magical place
    • Dream of a woman singing.
    • Writing the poem makes the magic real.
    • Reality destroys the magic.
    • Society destroys the poet.
  • 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. Sovereign power Structure stands within a wild and untamed landscape Man can neither map nor comprehend the caverns Sense of the exotic and the mysterious Grandeur and majesty vs luxury and leisure In Xamdu did Cublai Can builde a stately Palace, encompassing sixteene miles of plaine ground with a wall, wherein are fertile Meddowes, pleasant springs, delightful Streames, and all sorts of beasts of chase and game, and in the middest thereof a suptuous house of pleasure” – Puchas’ Pilgimage “ sacred river’ Not real Alpha = beginning Symbol of life Contrast – the destination of this lifegiving river is a place without light and life
  • So twice five miles of fertile ground With walls and towers were girdled round: And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. Eastern tranquility NATURAL VERSUS MAN-MADE Nature is controlled, separated and set apart – attempt to control, pattern and order the natural world Not a public domain – private place
  • But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover! A savage place! as holy and enchanted As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted By woman wailing for her demon lover! Irony – it is savage and haunted Across, from corner to corner This is a place which is not artificial, not man-made – untouched by civilization and cultivation – beyond the understanding of man SIMILE: darkness descending, woman crying in anguish for her demon lover – this kind of supernatural relationship can only exist outside of Kubla Khan’s artificial paradise
  • And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething, As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, A mighty fountain momently was forced: Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail: Have we descended into the poet’s “unconscious” where we now encounter “ceaseless turmoil”? Personification Poetic inspiration – sporadic and intense Fleeting nature of creative thought – difficult to pin down Chasm is a place of constant turbulence - symbolic imagery of sex and birth (cp. Calm of Kubla’s garden) Tremendous power and force of the “mighty fountain” is stressed – boulders are first compared to hail, then grain
  • And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever It flung up momently the sacred river. Five miles meandering with a mazy motion Through wood and dale the sacred river ran, Dancing – floating on the surface of the water (PERSONIFICATION)
  • Then reached the caverns measureless to man, And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean: And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far Ancestral voices prophesying war! Human creations and stations are not permanent – dome is threatened by destructions of war
  • The shadow of the dome of pleasure Floated midway on the waves; Where was heard the mingled measure From the fountain and the caves. It was a miracle of rare device, A sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice! PARADOX & OXYMORON Made according to Khan’s masterplan The pleasure dome now becomes a “shadow:
  • A damsel with a dulcimer In a vision once I saw: It was an Abyssinian maid, And on her dulcimer she played, Singing of Mount Abora. The poet himself? Abyssinia = Ethiopia Mount Abora = Coleridge’s creation Mount Amara (Milton)
  • Could I revive within me Her symphony and song, To such a deep delight 'twould win me, That with music loud and long, I would build that dome in air, That sunny dome! those caves of ice Pleasuredome = the creative mind “ sunny”: conscious thought “ caves of ice”: unconscious/subconscious thought Does the damsel represent a past moment of inspiration (maybe a complete poem) that the poet wishes he could revive? Conditional verbs BUILD IN WORDS/POETRY “symphony and song’ WHAT KHAN BUILT IN HIS KINGDOM
  • And all who heard should see them there, And all should cry, Beware! Beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair! Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honey-dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise. Biblical Allusion – Garden of Eden Adam & Eve Poet is caught up in enchantment and mdaness Eyes flash with creative frenzy Honey-dew – food of the gods