When Feminists Read the Romantics, or the Cultural Chasm of "Kubla Khan"

  • Anca Vlasopolos Wayne State University


Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" offers the occasion for scrutinizing academic feminism since Romanticists and feminists regard this poem as a "founding myth" of our culture and is situated on the boundary of rivalling literary historiographies. Against Gilbert and Gubar's assessment of "Kubla" as touchstone of opposing feminisms, this author reads the poem as the site of a continuing clash between manmade poetics of form and the expression of female pleasure. Recognizing the dangers in totalizing gestures of academic feminism leads to enabling readings of gender-troubled Romantic texts and to re-examinations of power politics in academia, including those of feminist criticism.
Original Research