Department or Program


Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Alison Hickey


The three poems of interest in this thesis— Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan,” Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Mont Blanc,” and John Keats’s “Ode to Psyche”—complicate relationships between the poet, his internal world, and his external world. This is accomplished in all three poems through the conjuring up of a physical region, which establishes an awareness of spatial relations between the poet and the space in which he dwells. I explore how the poems’ speakers position themselves and other entities relative to these outside features in ways that enable a more vivid expression of the nonexistence of distinct divisions. Through the exploration of ambiguous boundaries in the relationships that the speaker holds with the external world, we consider the reach of poetry beyond the physical and temporal limitations of the poem’s space and towards new worlds.