Self And Individualism In Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Kubla Khan

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Commencing in the early eighteenth century, the Romantic Movement sought not only to transform the essence of human experience through challenging the unyielding and judicious constraints of neoclassicism, but also to transform both individual and societal temperaments. The emphasis on the individual self rejected the preceding Age of Enlightenment, rather implementing the ingenious lusts idealising intuition, sensation and artistic emancipation. However, the idiosyncratic era proved not only to stand as a sheer assertion of the self, yet as a means of revolutionising the essence of humanity and paving the way for a new wave of philosophical, artistic, political and scientific experimentations, surpassing the confines of the natural world.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge details the celebration of personal expression and individuality through the fragmentary, quixotic trance of Kubla Khan as well as the
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Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Kubla Khan explores the manic, opium-fuelled “Vision in a dream” of the idyllic realm of Xanadu, articulating his belief that universal perfectionism remains the definitive link between the self, nature and the Higher Power. Coleridge’s declaration of the “stately pleasure dome, where Alf the sacred river ran”, builds on the fertility and richness of the human mind ignited by the first breath of life from the ultimate power. Akin to the “caverns measureless to man” the limit to man’s richness and creative genius becomes restricted by his inability to understand it, becoming more than merely an intense decree of individuality but a means of dichotomising the true nature of man, liberating his beauty and brutality “a savage place! As holy and enchanted as e’er beneath a waning moon” and the unstable nature of the self that Coleridge longs to

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