Primary Imagination

With Coleridge, Barfield means by primary imagination "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" (Chap. XIII of BL). The primary imagination constructs the phenomena, the collective representations, which we take to be the real world.

Coleridge distinguished, of course, between primary imagination and secondary imagination, and in Poetic Diction Barfield explains the difference with great precision: "As the secondary imagination makes meaning, so the primary imagination makes 'things'" (PD 31).

See in particular "Imagination and Fancy," I & II (WCT 69-91).