Kubla Khan

“”Kubla Khan: A famously unfinished, opium-induced poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), who had claimed to have written down as much as he could of what he had just been dreaming before being interrupted by the arrival of ‘a person on business from Porlock.’ Composed while Coleridge was living in Somerset in 1797-8, the poem was first published in Christabel and Other Poems (1816). It bears little relation to the historical Kublai Khan (1215-94), the grandson of Genghis Khan. Kublai led the Mongol conquest of China and made himself the first emperor of the Yuan dynasty in 1279. He was made famous in Europe by Marco Polo, who spent 20 years at Kublai’s court.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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