Imagination creates power to perceive unity in the multiplicity of our experience; the creative genius is the ability to create new unity out of existing things. Imagination is not apart from nature. It is present as a power in nature from the beginning of the creation. Imagination is the ability to make a picture in mind, the part of mind that does it.
The romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1722- 1834), although he wrote no single treatise on the imagination, is considered the central figure in its modern development. S.T Coleridge a famous and prominent romantic writer brought something new to his age and something new for the coming ages to explore. Famous for his creative works like The Rime of Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan Coleridge is also known for his precious view on works of William Shakespeare and other literary faculties like primary and secondary imagination. Coleridge owed his interest in the study of imagination to Wordsworth. But Wordsworth was interested only in the practice of poetry and he considered only the impact of imagination on poetry; Coleridge on the other hand, is interested in the theory of imagination. He is the first critic to study the nature of imagination and examine its role in creative activity. Secondly, while Wordsworth uses Fancy and Imagination almost as synonyms, Coleridge is the first critic to distinguish between them and define their respective roles. He drew on most of the major work that preceded him, including the biblical, classical and medieval sources as well as the most important thinkers like Kant and contemporaries like Schelling. Coleridge offered no system to support his views of imagination, but the insight and argument scattered throughout his works finally yield a coherent and important work of literary theory and criticism is his Biographia Literaria (1817), in which he acknowledges his debts to such thinkers as Kant and Schelling. Biographia Literaria which has another title as Biographia Literaria; or Biographical Sketches of MY LITERARY LIFE and OPINIONS. It is known as autobiography in discourse by S.T. Coleridge. The work is long and seemingly loosely structured, and although there are autobiographical elements, it is not a straightforward or linear autobiography rather meditative. The work was not intended to be a long work rather was planned as a mere preface to his creative works as Lyrical Ballad explaining and justifying his own style and practice in poetry. The work grew to a literary autobiography, including, together with many facts concerning his education and studies and his early literary adventures, an extended criticism of William Wordsworth’s theory of poetry as given in the preface to the Lyrical Ballads (a work on which Coleridge collaborated), and a statement of Coleridge's philosophical views.
Cite this article:
Ritu Rani . Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Notion of Fancy and Imagination. Research J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 4(3): July-September, 2013, 410-411