Working to support herself and her family in a time when it was improper for a lady to do so, Robinson became a prolific Romantic writer and actress, as well as a much-talked-about celebrity. Significantly, Robinson assumed the right to converse with her male contemporaries through her poetry. One fascinating example of this is her poem ‘To the Poet Coleridge,’ written after her review of his ‘Kubla Kahn.’ Robinson both celebrates and revises Coleridge’s opium-induced vision, and in doing so, sets herself apart from other female Romantic writers by embracing the Imagination. Notably, Robinson deletes the eroticism from Coleridge’s imaginary world in what I argue is an attempt to simultaneously legitimize the Imagination as an appropriate subject for women as well as the work of women writers in general.
My paper explores why and how she chooses to de-sexualize Coleridge’s poem, including a look at the historical context that may have driven her to do so, as well as other stances she took on both sexuality and the Imagination in a few of her other works.
Shannon Gent, ’02 Mt. Vernon, IA
Sponsor: Michelle Mouton