Otherworldly spaces in selected poems by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Keats
Swanepoel, Aletta Catharina
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A literary survey points out that spatiality - despite recent trends - does not receive much attention in the study of Romanticism. This dissertation aims to fill this gap and investigates the otherworldly realms that Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Keats create in their poetry. The term otherworld is used to denote any space that is not actuality and includes spaces like the pleasure-dome at Xanadu in "Kubla Khan" and "the cold hill's side" in "La Belle Dame Sans Merci". The specific focus is on the way the poets create these worlds. Despite several similarities, the two poets' worlds differ in that Coleridge alludes to the transcendent and emphasises mystery and the vastness of the universe. He does so by using images that reveal only part of the other world created and by focusing attention on that which cannot be perceived by the senses. In contrast, Keats's focus is on the particular, highlighting the otherworldly within that which is known. He achieves a familiar unfamiliarity by alluding strongly to the senses and revealing what he called the "truth" of the objects contemplated in his poems. The findings are based on a hermeneutic, biographical and historical approach rooted in the two writers' prose.
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