Tag Archives: On First Looking into

On First Looking into…Manfred

By Julia Malykh

The enchanting sensuality of Lord Byron’s closet drama Manfred (1816) lies in its depiction of a power struggle. On encountering the text, it is easy to underappreciate Byron’s magnetic innovation by writing off Manfred as a fictionalized account of the poet’s incestuous relationship with his half-sister Augusta Leigh—in keeping with his personal reputation as “mad, bad and dangerous to know.” Upon a closer look, however, it becomes clear that Byron’s dramatic poem is a series of tableaux depicting power struggles between a Byronic hero, Manfred, and a Byronic heroine, Astarte. Continue reading On First Looking into…Manfred

On First Looking Into…Kubla Khan

The Orient as Other in Kubla Khan

By Lucille Starer Marshall

Orientalism, as defined by Edward Said, is a mode of knowledge production that sustains a basic distinction between the East and West. Orientalism produces cultural theories, political accounts, and literary representations of the Orient that maintain the world’s imbalances of power. At a time of Western imperialism and national cultivation, Romantic writers participated in constructing the image of the Orient. Through poetic style, diction, and narrative, authors established a distinct Other in order to assert the superiority of Western civilization. We encounter such Orientalism in Coleridge’s Kubla Khan. Continue reading On First Looking Into…Kubla Khan

On First Looking Into…Coleridge’s Conversation Poems

Coleridge and the Sound of Music in the Conversation Poems

By Zoe Baker-Peng

Methinks it should have been impossible

Not to love all things in a world so filled,

Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air

Is Music slumbering on its instrument.

(‘The Eolian Harp,’ 30-33)

As I read Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s conversation poems for the first time, in particular ‘The Eolian Harp,’ ‘The Nightingale,’ and ‘Frost at Midnight,’ the frequent pairing of nature and music struck me as intriguing. Throughout these poems, Coleridge examines the relationship between the organic world and musical sounds, and uses music to further illustrate and explain the composition of natural scenes. Continue reading On First Looking Into…Coleridge’s Conversation Poems

On First Looking into…The Lucy Poems

By Gabriela Minden

Upon delving into the second edition of Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads (1800) for the first time, I was struck by the disparity between the Lucy poems and the rest of the collection. The Lucy poems are elegiac, written about a mysterious female figure whose nature seems to change from poem to poem, and they seem to constitute their own corpus that does not quite mesh with the other poems in the collection. In hopes of clarification, I turned to Coleridge’s explanation of his and Wordsworth’s artistic goals in composing Lyrical Ballads. Continue reading On First Looking into…The Lucy Poems