ETD system

Electronic theses and dissertations repository


Tesi etd-03182016-200414

Thesis type
Elaborati finali per laurea triennale
Coleridge and Hypnotic Poetry
Corso di studi
relatore Prof.ssa Beccone, Simona
controrelatore Prof.ssa Giovannelli, Laura
controrelatore Prof. Grilli, Alessandro
Parole chiave
  • Coleridge
  • Hypnotic
  • Poetry
  • Imagination
  • Mesmer
  • Animal Magnetism
  • Sublime
  • Magnetic
  • Romantic
  • Vampire
  • Numinous
Data inizio appello
Riassunto analitico
This dissertation examines the role of hypnosis, both as theme and formal device, in the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Coleridge´s philosophical and aesthetic views are permeated with elements of mysticism. To Coleridge the role of the poet is to be a mediator between man, nature and God. The poetic imagination is not a passive receiver but an active mediator between nature, the human world and the divine. This presented the first point of reconciliation between the two fields that I have been researching. Hypnotic poetry and Coleridge’s poetical practice on the one side and the theory of animal magnetism proposed by Franz Anton Mesmer on the other side.
In his dissertation, De Influx Planetarium in Corpus Humanum (On the Influence of Heavenly Bodies on the Human Body, 1766), Mesmer hypothesized the existence of a universal gravitational fluid which acts as a medium between the celestial and earthly levels of existence through which the planets may influence life on earth. Furthermore, Mesmer theorized the existence of animal magnetism: the natural energetic transference that occurred between all animate and inanimate objects.
Animal magnetism was introduced, disseminated, evaluated and finally discredited by The Report of the Commissioners in 1784, which asserted that the observable effects of the patients were due to suggestion and imagination of the subjects. Exactly this presented the key to the topic of my dissertation, because in February 1821 Coleridge wrote: “If Zoo-magnetic influx be only the influence of the Imagination, the active imagination may be a form of Zoo-magnetic Influence”. Consequently, the active imagination is presented as being capable of harnessing this force and sending it in new directions, producing altered currents that might be able to induce a hypnotic effect.
I have selected the theoretical insights of E.D.Snyder, R.Tsur, B.Hrushovski, L.Cooper, C.Rzepka and B.E.McDonald to construct a coherent and comprehensive framework for the structural, phonological, phonosymbolical and thematic analysis of a single poetical work having hypnotic qualities. Consequently, my dissertation focused mainly on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, as it is a quintessential example of Coleridge’s treatment of the problem.