What does Coleridge mean by ‘Secondary Imagination’?
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Coleridge gives a direct explanation of his theories on imagination in his book Biographia Literaria, and the philosophy he describes parallels the images of imagination in Kubla Khan. First he distinguishes between two different kinds of imagination: he describes the "primary imagination" as a faculty allowing man to form concepts, make connections, and organize the information received from the world; and the "secondary imagination" includes man's ability to create new images. The secondary is a similar concept to creativity and is the focus of Kubla Khan. He says that the secondary "dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to recreate" (477). Coleridge also writes that the poet creates "by that synthetic and magical power...of imagination" (482). Therefore, his philosophy notes both a cognizant and wild aspect of imagination: the terms "dissolves, diffuses, dissipates" and "synthetic" show that a conscious effort is needed; and by deeming creation "magical" Coleridge suggests that imagination also has an untamed aspect.