Coleridge's Poems

Rosebuds and Sinuous Rills: The Romantic Fragment of Orientalism in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" and Citizen Kane by Orson Welles

The debate over the fragmentary nature of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan" has continued from the time the poem was written in 1797 to the present day. Some critics believe "Kubla Khan" to be a complete work in its totality, while others argue that it is merely an unfinished fragment, a curiosity. The reductionist view of "Kubla Khan" as an incomplete novelty does Coleridge grave disservice. On the other hand, Coleridge's own description of his poem as a fragment, as well as the chaotic disconnectedness of the poem itself, makes it difficult to call the work finished in any conventional sense. Instead, "Kubla Khan" may represent the author's own understanding of the mysterious and fractional world of the Orient. The Romantics were deeply fascinated with the Orient, and always depicted it as a dense and elusive myth rather than an actual location. The Western Romantics depicted Orientals as primitive, morally undeveloped, and changeless, but they were intensely drawn to the Orient precisely because it provided an alternative to the West. In this 'otherizing' of the Orient, Romantics fashioned a view of Orientals that mirrored their own culture, rather than...

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