Explain the “act of creation” of Romantic poetry.  

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The Romantic age was a period which created as a rebuttal to the preceding period (Realism or The Age of Reason). Therefore, the Romantic period explored emotion and intuition over reason. Romantics also explored the importance of nature and imagination.  Given that the Romantics found power within nature to explore their own imaginations and justify the importance of imagination, the "act of creation" came about so as to allow imagination to balance out any oppositions created through, and within, the experiences of the world. The "act of creation" famously became the great "I am" and was ultimately driven by a desire to find true self-assertion.

One poet who discussed the "act of creation" was Calvin Coolridge. Two aspects which Coolridge associated with the "act of creation" were primary and secondary imagination.

Primary imagination exists when "the living power and prime agent of all human perception . . . a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I am."

Secondary imagination exists as "an echo of the [primary], coexisting with the conscious will . . . indentical with the primary in the kind of its agency . . . differing only in the mode of its operation. It dissolves, diffuses, disipates, in order to recreate."

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