'Kubla Khan'

A poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), published 1816. Coleridge composed ‘Kubla Khan; Or, A Vision in a Dream’ in 1797 under the influence of opium. He fell into a reverie while reading a travel account, but his dream of the exotic Orient was interrupted by ‘a person on business from Porlock’. Although he tried to write down his recollections, only a 54 line ‘fragment’ remained. Coleridge conveys the pleasure induced by opium; however, his later work ‘The Pains of Sleep’ (1803) counters this by describing the torment of addiction. ‘Kubla Khan’ was eventually published in 1816, at Lord Byron’s request. Critics have explored a wide range of possible interpretations.

Manuscript of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'Kubla Khan'

Manuscript of S T Coleridge's 'Kubla Khan' [folio: 1r]

This manuscript is a fair copy (a neat copy) of Coleridge's 'Kubla Khan'. It was written out on two sides of blue-tinted paper, in preparation for being sent to the printer. It shows evidence of numerous substantive textual changes and apparently predates the version published in 1816.

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Usage terms Public Domain

Creator:
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Published:
1816
Full title:
'A Vision in a Dream'
Forms:
Poem
Genre:
Romantic literature
Literary period:
Romantic

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Kubla Khan and Coleridge's exotic language

Article by:
Daljit Nagra
Theme:
Romanticism

Poet Daljit Nagra explains how Coleridge uses language, form and imagery to create the heady exoticism of Kubla Khan.

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Article by:
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Theme:
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Dr Stephanie Forward explains the key ideas and influences of Romanticism, and considers their place in the work of writers including Wordsworth, Blake, P B Shelley and Keats.

An introduction to Kubla Khan: or A Vision in a Dream

Article by:
Seamus Perry
Theme:
Romanticism

Dr Seamus Perry considers the composition and publication history of Kubla Khan, and explores how Coleridge transforms language into both image and music.

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Coleridge’s ‘Kubla Khan’: Composition

Coleridge’s Kubla Khan: Composition

The historical and philosophical sources for Coleridge's Kubla Khan.

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