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Module 1: Coleridge Kubla Khan

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Interpreting Kubla Khan

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XSIQ
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English - Interpretations

Interpretations

Maud Bodkin's Jungian interpretation views Kubla Khan as a
contemplation of heaven and hell

There are about three or four major strands in the more modern criticism
of this poem:

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that it represents aspects of Coleridge's theory of aesthetics. You may
have come across Coleridge's theories of the Fancy and the Imagination, or
the Primary and Secondary Imagination, which aspects of Kubla himself and
the river are said to represent. One problem with these views is that
Coleridge had not finally worked out these theories when 'Kubla Khan' was
published.

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psychological criticism of the Freudian kind, which treats the poem as
the unconscious revelation of personal fantasies. The problem with this
school of criticism is that no two critics agree on just what aspects of
Coleridge's unconscious are being revealed, and just what each image in the
poem represents.

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more general symbolic interpretations, some of which are Jungian. The
best-known Jungian interpretation is probably in Maud Bodkin's Archetypal
Patterns in Poetry (1934), which sees the poem partly as a kind of
contemplation of heaven and hell.

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a view that it is a poem about the processes of artistic, particularly,
poetic creation, in which Kubla represents the creative artist.

It is worthwhile, the, keeping in mind that any view give below represents
at best an individual view of the poem in a way that is even more true than
it is for other poems.

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