Coleridge, Creative (Day)Dreaming, and “The Picture”


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Abstract

Meant less as traditional argument than as a scholarly meditation, the essay adopts quasi-fictional strategies of composition to read Coleridge’s “The Picture, or the Lover’s Resolution” through Freud’s “Creative Writers and Day-dreaming” and other, relevant scholarship. It adopts the localized point of view of the practicing poet to reflect upon “The Picture” and interpretation (or reading) itself considered as forms of (day)dreaming, giving particular attention to what “The Picture” suggests about the dynamics and consequences of creative wish-fulfillment when the dream of art is dreamt under the sign of Eros. Must the poet’s muse become a figment, a shadow? Is the (day)dream of creative romance false, or true? Disclosing to reader and interpreter in turn selected prospects revealed within “The Picture’s” interior landscape, the essay seeks to preserve the element of (self-)discovery characteristic of dreaming. It concludes by reiterating a challenge implicit all along: (when) are our dreams of interpretation themselves truths—or idle fancies?

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