Imagination in Romantic Poetry

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IMAGINATION IN ROMANTIC POETRY

A large part of those extracts on Romantic imagination - which are contained in the fascicule on pages D64 and D65 – are strictly related to an ancient theory about Art and Reality’s imitation, the Theory of Forms concieved by a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician Plato - in Greek: Πλάτων, Plátōn, "broad"; from 424/423 BC to 348/347 BC. The Theory of Forms - in Greek: ἰδέαι - typically refers to the belief expressed by Socrates in some of Plato's dialogues, that the material world as it seems to us is not the real world, but only an image or copy of the real world. Socrates spoke of forms in formulating a solution to the problem of universals. The forms, according to Socrates, are roughly speaking archetypes or abstract representations of the many types of things, and properties we feel and see around us, that can only be perceived by reason - in Greek: λογική - that is, they are universals. In other words, Socrates sometimes seems to recognise two worlds: the Apparent world, which constantly changes, and an unchanging and unseen world of forms, which may be a cause of what is apparent. This theory is proposed in different ways in Blake’s, Coleridge’s Shelley’s extracts. The former says that “This world of Imagination is the world of Eternity” (A Vision of the Last Judgement, 1810) a place which resembles to a sort of otherworldly realm where “Exist [...] the Permanent Realities of Every Thing (the Form) which we see reflected in this Vegetable Glass of Nature (the Apparent world)”. A similar thing is exposed by Samuel Coleridge an english romantic poet who divides Imagination in Primary and Secondary. The former is “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”, the latter is an echo of the former who “dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to re-create” (Biographia Literaria, 1817) a thing which is totally different from...
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