Unconscious Apocalypse

Wordsworth and Coleridge present to us a vision and a dream that they had. What is interesting about both Wordsworth’s and Coleridge’s visions are that they both seem to have an edge of paranoia. Wordsworth is worried about a future in which books are destroyed or somehow cease to exist and Coleridge’s vision, while not finished, describes the terrifying power and might of Kubla Khan.

The unconscious for Wordsworth and Coleridge is a terrifying place, one where the boundaries between reality and imagination are blurred. This is evident in the nature of their poetry, in which the unconscious becomes conscious, and the reader experiences an out-of-body sense as they read through the poem. I would argue that one of the main “characters” required for the apocalypse is the unconscious imagination. It has no beginning, nor end, and, with the imagination, a vision of the future end of the world is possible.

Whenever you have a nightmare, the thing that finally causes you to wake up is your or someone else’s ultimate destruction. You wake up from the nightmare having almost seen life end, an apocalypse. Whether or not Wordsworth and Coleridge were having nightmares is uncertain, but their unconscious was certainly having an experience similar to one.

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~ by dianawitless on September 13, 2012.

One Response to “Unconscious Apocalypse”

  1. I agree with you that “the unconscious for Wordsworth and Coleridge is a terrifying place, one where the boundaries between reality and imagination are blurred.” Both Wordsworth and Coleridge seem to be saying that life is filled with lessons worth learning. They show these apocalyptic lessons or warnings by closing the gap between the imagination and conventional life by calling to mind examples of instances where it is best to heed their wisdom. As you noted, Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” presents such a drastic vision that makes closer the gap between the unconscious and reality.

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