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Samuel Taylor Coleridge was one of the most important authors of the English Romanticism. He stressed the role of imagination and considered two kinds of it:

  • Primary imagination, that was connected with human perceptions and the individual power to produce images, was the ability to percieve reality giving chaos a certain order and giving the material of perception a certain shape. Everydoby had “primary imagination” and used it unconsciously.
  • Secondary imagination was voluntary and used consciously; it was an act that only poet can did, in fact, like Coleridge said, “he dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to recreate”. Through this kind of imagination the poet doesn’t only give a shape and an order to a given world, but he built new worlds. Every human being could recreate reality in a different way, so the work of art was unic and personal and while man previously thought that art had simply to reproduce reality, now artists had to recreate it.
Furthermore, Coleridge put an accent on the difference between imagination and fancy. In fact, while imagination was the creative power of poetry, fancy was just a new way to talk about something that already existed. It was the mechanical ability with which the poet used devices like metaphores, alliterations and so on, in order to express his ideas. So, fancy was the way in which he could comunicate his ideas to everybody.
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