Transsexual Identification in "Christabel" Poem Review by CromulentGuy

Transsexual Identification in "Christabel"
An investigation into the possibility that Samuel Coleridge's poem, "Christabel," could be an autobiographical confession of his confusing and complex feelings toward fellow poet and friend, William Wordsworth.
# 57223 | 2,619 words | 9 sources | MLA | 2005 | US
Published on Mar 22, 2005 in Literature (English) , Literature (Poetry) , Gender and Sexuality (Transgender)

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The paper examines the possibility that Samuel Coleridge's "Christabel" character is a transgendered projection of his himself, written subconsciously to word out his conflicted feelings toward William Wordsworth, whom he felt was sucking him dry of his creativity in order to achieve his own literary immortality.

From the Paper:

"Central to any critical understanding of a poem is the acceptance or formation of a well reasoned interpretation. Merely reading a poem as a collection of words, or even as just a story being told, doesn't help the reader appreciate the more subtle content contained in an original work of literature. All great poems, and many bad poems, are open to a variety of interpretations, and it is important to keep them in mind when reading the actual poem in order for one to gain further insight into the thematic composition at play within the poetry itself. Interpretive choices must be created from sources beyond the simple lexical meaning of the words themselves. It is equally important to examine the subtext, closely scrutinizing the nuance and imagery operating between the words. Beyond that, one would do well to consider the history of the poet, especially that history which goes into his psychological makeup and which therefore will determine various subconscious details included in the poem of which even the poet himself might be unaware. Further, a reader can often gain insight into an interpretive choice as to the meaning of a poem by being aware of such ostensibly mundane things as the poet's selection of names for his characters, or even his choice of setting or environment. Finally, one can even glean a great deal about the meaning of a poem by understanding the actual history of the poem itself. All of these choices must be considered when choosing to interpret Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Christabel," and in so doing one can very easily arrive at a perfectly valid interpretation of the poem which clearly finds that it is amazingly autobiographical considering the sensational subject matter, that it contains undeniable insight into Coleridge's own personal fears and desires, and even that the content of the poem itself may explain why the author was incapable of finishing it despite having said that the plan for the entire poem was complete in his head (Basler 48-49)."

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