Imagination and Fancy in Coleridge's Biographia Literaria

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Imagination and Fancy in Coleridge's Biographia Literaria

Coleridge,in his essay "Biographia Literaria",rejecting the empiricist assumption that the mind was tabula rasa on which external experience and sense impressions were imprinted, stored,recalled, combined both come from respectively the Latin word 'imaginato' and Greek word 'phantasia'. Coleridge defines imagination by saying that "The imagination then I consider either as primary, or secondary. The primary imagination I hold to be the living power and prime agent of all human perception,and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I am .

The secondary I consider as an echo of the former, co-existing with the concious will, yet still as identical with the primary in the kind of its agency, and differing only in degrees, and in the mode of operation. It dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to recreate, or where this process is rendered impossible, yet still, at all events, it struggles to dealize and to unify. It is essentially vital, even as all objects are essentially fixed and dead."Coleridge either the imagination into Primary and Secondary and draws a distinction between creative acts those are unconscious and intentional and deliberate acts.

Primary imagination was for Coleridge, the "necessary imagination" as it "automatically balances and fuses the innate capacities and powers of the mind with the external presence of the objective world that the one receives through the senses."Secondary imagination, on the other hand, represents a superior occulty which could only be associated with artistic genius. It is more active and concious in its working. It is at the root of all poetic activity. The secondary imagination selects and orders the raw material and reshapes and remodels it into objects of beauty. Thus it is "a shaping and modifying power." It "dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to recreate."

Primary imagination is the...
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