Treatment of Supernatural in Coleridge's Christabel

3399 Words Mar 18th, 2013 14 Pages
Christabel is an unfinished poem of 677 lines written by S.T. Coleridge. Its first part consists of 337 lines, which was written in 1797 and its second part consists of 337 lines which were written in 1800, after Coleridge returned back from Germany. After this there was a decline in his poetic powers and in spite of his numerous efforts to complete the poem, he could not do so. This poem was supposed to be included in the second edition of the Lyrical Ballads, but because it was not complete its inclusion could not be possible. On 1st November 1800, Coleridge wrote a letter to Josiah Wedgwood in this context. In his letter, he wrote-
“I tried to perform my promise; but the deep unutterable disgust,
Which I had suffered in the translation
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She said that her father, Sir Leoline would make arrangements to send her to her father’s house safely. Christabel then took the young lady to her castle and told her that her father’s health is not very good so he should not be disturbed at the nighttime when he is sleeping. She asks Geraldine to share her bed that night. A strange thing happened when both the ladies crossed the castle gate and passed by the old bitch. The bitch made an angry howl and Christabel was surprised because the bitch had never howled like this at her approach. While they were crossing the hall, another strange thing happened. The fire which had burnt low suddenly leapt into a flame. Finally when both of them reach Christabel’s room, Geraldine faints and so she is given some wine by Christabel which was made by her mother who had died when she was very small. Geraldine got disturbed on the mention of the mother. Then in a strange voice, she challenged the spirit of Christabel’s dead mother and told the spirit to go away because this hour belonged to her. Christabel could not understand what was happening. She thought that Geraldine was disturbed by her horrible experience and so she offered her more wine. Geraldine soon recovered and stood upright and thanked Christabel for her kindness. Then she asked her to undress and go to sleep. Christabel followed her instructions but could not sleep. Then Geraldine loosened her dress and revealed her bosom which was
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