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Addition of Strangeness to Beauty

  • Date Submitted: 01/16/2014 05:27 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 42.2 
  • Words: 308
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The "addition of strangeness to beauty" that Walter Pater near the end of the nineteenth century would identify as a key Romantic tendency is seen not only in this concern with the exotic and ancient landscapes of romance, but also in the Romantic interest in the mysteries of mental life and determination to investigate psychological extremes. The romantics put great emphasis on imagination. They think through imagination and can they see into the heart of things. Coleridge has been called the “high priest of romanticism”, he shared an interest in dreams and nightmares and in the changed consciousness he experienced under his addiction to opium. He has a strong tincture of the supernatural which excited his wonder, and perceived the unseen powers at work behind the visible world. Through his poetry he tried to convey his perception of the mystery of things to others. In his poem “The Ancient Mariner”, Coleridge blends the real and unreal in order to create a supernatural world. We can see the story at first is given a known, familiar setting, such as  the sun shining brightly at the outset, the mist and snow surrounding the ship, the freezing cold of the Artic region, but soon it passes into an unreal world, The fascinating power in Mariner’s gaze, the sudden appearance of the mysterious skeleton ship, the coming back of life to the dead crew, the sudden sinking of the ship, the polar spirits talking to each other- all these and other supernatural incidents are scattered in the poem. His poetry is more mysterious and strange than that of any other romantic. It is this power of imagination that makes him the supreme poet of the supernatural. He created a sense of strangeness and wonder, and thus justifies Walter Pater’s definition of romanticism as, “the addition of strangeness to Beauty”.


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