Coleridge Conception of Fancy and Imagination

Question: Write a note on Coleridge concepts of imagination and fancy.


The “Biographia Literaria”, a life account in talk by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1774-1832), which he published in 1817. It was one of Coleridge’s principle basic investigations. Through this conversation, he makes many worth decisions, leaving his readers with a reasonable comprehend of his position on specific issues. A portion of the issues he handles incorporate legislative issues, religion, social qualities, and human personality. He communicates his own musings from an individual perspective.

Coleridge’s theory of “imagination” and “fancy”

To define imagination, we can say- the act or intensity of shaping a psychological picture of something not present to the senses or at no other time entirely apparent in reality. According to Coleridge, imagination has a couple of types: Primary and Secondary. On the other hand, fancy is to be sure no other than a method of memory liberated structure the request for existence. Almost in all of his writing, Coleridge boldly presents imagination and fancy. Coleridge mentions Milton for instance of an imaginative mind and Cowley as an example of a fanciful one.

The living power

As indicated by him, the primary imagination is “the living power and prime agent of all human perception”. Essential is seeing the impressions of the external world through the senses. It is an unreserved demonstration of the human psyche, the picture as framed of the outside world unknowingly and automatically. It is general and is controlled by all.

The poetic vision

As per Coleridge, the secondary imagination is the wonderful vision, the workforce that a writer has “to idealize and unify”. It is an echo of the previous, co-existing with the cognizant will. It works upon the crude materials that are sensations and impressions provided the essential creative mind. It is the optional creative mind which makes any aesthetic creation understandable and base of all poetic movement. It is considered as molding and adjusting power.

The enchanting power of imagination

Coleridge considers the secondary imagination an magical force; it wires different resources of human spirit will, feeling, vigour, recognition. It wires inside and outside, the subjective and objective.

Fancy as the subordinate to imagination

Coleridge respects fancy to be the inferior compared to imagination. It is as per him an inventive force. It just consolidates various things into various, dislike imagination to engage them into one.

Bcolaborating process

As indicated by him, it is the way toward “bringing together images dissimilar in the main, by source”. It has no different counters to play with, however fixities and definites. Extravagant, in Coleridge’s eyes was utilized for undertakings that were “passive” and “mechanical”.

The distinction between Fancy and the Imagination

The differentiation made by Coleridge among Fancy and the Imagination laid on the way that extravagant was worried about the mechanical tasks of the brain while creative mind then again is portrayed the secretive force. “The Primary Imagination” was for Coleridge, the “necessary imagination” as it establish pictures and connections of what it gets through the faculties.

In this manner, imagination makes new shapes and types of magnificence by melding and binding together the various impressions it gets from the outside world. Though Fancy is a sort of memory; it arbitrarily unites pictures, and in any event, when united, they keep on holding their different individual properties.


Critics have responded firmly to the Biographia Literaria. Be that as it may, Coleridge conveys the Biographia Literaria without the slightest hesitation of whether there will be any contradiction from his crowd. He recognizes primary and secondary imagination. Coleridge’s treatment of the subject is portrayed by more noteworthy profundity, entrance and philosophical nuance. It is his one-of-a-kind commitment to the abstract hypothesis.

More Notes of Criticism

SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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