Kubla Khan | Summary In English | Class 11

Summary of "Kubla Khan". "Kubla Khan" was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. S.T. Coleridge was a great romantic poet. He was an opium eater and he had eaten opium just before writing this poem. He was sleeping and in the dream he saw this dream. He got up and started writing this poem about Kubla Khan. In the middle, a business man came and disturbed. So this poem was left incomplete. This poem describes an ideal luxurios house in Xanadu. The place is very beautiful where Alph river goes underground. The trees are flowering and giving scent. It is very mysterious and miraculous place. It is a part of heaven. It is imaginative place.
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Summary Of 'Kubla Khan':

This poem deals with the ideal and beautiful house of the King Kubla Khan. It is a dream vision. The poem begins with the lines telling us that Kubla Khan ordered to build a palace for himself in Xandan, just where the river Alph went underground. For this palace, ten miles of fertile land was surrounded with walls and towers where trees started flowering and vegetation was all around. In the second stanza, Coleridge presents that Kubla Khan heard by the voice of forefathers that war would break out soon. The palace is described as savage, full or dread and confusion. There are some romantic words and clauses like 'raining moon', 'woman wailing for her demon lover'. The third stanza deals with pleasure of the palace which would float on the waves of the atmosphere. There is visualization of a ringing girl who is ringing and the last stanza also lengthens the same beautiful song and pictures of the beautiful maid.

Or You May Choose Below Summary:

This poem describes Xanadu, the palace of Kubla Khan, a Mongol emperor and the grandson of Genghis Khan. The poem's speaker starts by describing the setting of Emperor's palace, which he calls a "pleasure dome." He tells us about a river that runs across the land and then flows through some underground caves and into the sea. He also tells us about the fertile land that surrounds the palace. The nearby area is covered in streams, sweet-smelling trees, and beautiful forests.

Then the speaker gets excited about the river again and tells us about the canyon through which it flows. He makes it into a spooky, haunted place, where you might find a "woman wailing for her demon lover." He describes how the river leaps and smashes through the canyon, first exploding up into a noisy fountain and then finally sinking down and flowing through those underground caves into the ocean far away.

The speaker then goes on to describe Kubla Khan himself, who is listening to this noisy river and thinking about war. All of a sudden, the speaker moves away from this landscape and tells us about another vision he had, where he saw a woman playing an instrument and singing. The memory of her song fills him with longing, and he imagines himself singing his own song, using it to create a vision of Xanadu.

Toward the end, the poem becomes more personal and mysterious, as the speaker describes past visions he has had. This brings him to a final image of a terrifying figure with flashing eyes. This person, Kubla Khan, is a powerful being who seems almost godlike: "For he on honey-dew hath fed/And drunk the milk of paradise" (53-54).

Or You May Choose Below Summary:

“Kubla Khan,” tagged as a fragment, has two parts. The first is a mostly prose introduction in which Coleridge recounts the circumstances under which he composed the following lines of verse. He confesses to having fallen asleep after taking medication for a minor complaint while meditating upon a voluminous travelogue. Asleep, he dreams the images that, upon waking, he dashes down as the poem. Unfortunately, he is interrupted by a man from Porlock, a nearby town, and when he is again able to write, he recalls little more. 

Additionally, Coleridge announces that he is publishing this fragment, written years before, only at the behest of the deservedly famous (as he ingenuously notes) Lord Byron. Thus, in short order, Coleridge blames a book, sleep and dreams, drugs, a visitor, and Byron for this curious and cryptic poem rather than bravely taking responsibility for it himself.

Coleridge’s insecurities prevented his claiming a masterpiece. The poem proper is also bipartite. Its first section describes how, godlike, Kubla Khan creates an entire world, a kind of Eden, merely by utterance. His decree animates a world of fountains and rivers, caves and gardens, energy and peace, an enchanted and hallowed place that seems to represent the origins of life, consciousness, and art. Within this Eden, conflict, a fall, is predicted, for the emperor hears ancient war prophecies.

Abruptly, the poem switches to a dream of an Abyssinian dulcimer-playing maiden singing of a holy mountain. The poet declares that, were he able to recall her song, which in a way he has just done with lines that evoke her, he would also be able to duplicate Kubla Khan’s invention, which he has actually also just done in writing the foregoing, and his witnesses would attest to his inspiration, his art, and his prophecy.

What Coleridge has done is to celebrate his poetic artistry and its kinship with the creative and prophetic powers of religion and humanity’s deepest desires.

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