The Prelude

(by Willian Wordsworth)

‘The prelude’ is an autobiographical journey of poet himself (Willian Wordsworth), it was a semi-autobiography which was published after his demise in 1850, by Mary Hutchinson. The Prelude: The Growth of people’s mind was written between 1799-1805. 

The Prelude has 14 books in which the poet describes about growth of poetic mind and soul, actually, Wordsworth wanted to write an Epic poem because his fellow contemporary S.T. Coleridge has requested for it. Therefore, this long poem which consist 7883 blank verse line is an Epic of a special type. Its story is in the account of growth of a Spirit, the development of an awareness, and the evolution of sensitive mind. It is the longest poem of Wordsworth’s career.

The Prelude consist Wordsworth’s child hood and adulthood. All the incidents during his childhood to adulthood happened covered in these 14 books.

Book 1-11 The first book title is childhood & school the poet talks about his childhood when he lived in Lake district and involved in many natural activities like Booting, fishing all these has left a great on poet’s mind this book covers the age of 10-17 years of poet Book-3 covers his story, when he used to live in Cambridge. He shares his experience while studying at Cambridge, he says that he does not want to be a scholar.

Book-4 In this book he shares his summer vacation Experience with friends.

Book-5 It Covers the poet’s interests towards books, the poet says that he is taking interest in studying very popular authors and writers like; Shakespeare, Milton etc.

Book-6 This book covers his loneliness of university life. Wordsworth says that how nature was helpful when he was feeling lonely during this particular time.

The poet also says that the next summer vacation has started and he spent some memorable moments with his sister Dorothy and friend Mary Hutchinson.

In this book poet describe the Experience of IIIrd summer vacation and a tour. He also completed his graduation during this time.

Book-7 In this book the poet tells how he reached London along with his B.A. Degree and altogether describes the life of London.

Book-8 This is one of the important books because the poet surveys about his maturity and how nature has affected him.

Book 9-10, In these particular books Wordsworth share the experience of his of his France visit .

Book-11 In this section, poet share the crisis experience of his spiritual feeling.

Book12,13,14, In these three books  poet tells that how with his friend S.T. Coleridge and Dorothy started the Romantic age.

Therefore, all these books tell us  the development of mind of William Wordsworth of his careers.

Important facts about prelude

The Prelude is an autobiographical because it is about the poet’s self-consciousness and search for identity written chronologically. There was a time, when entire Europe was reeling under the nightmare of Napoleonic onslaughts, and everyone was looking for a stable identity and a solid value system.

The Prelude is classified as follow:

The Prelude as psychological because it explores the nature and function of the human mind.

The Prelude as didactic because it gives certain definite moral conclusion.

The Prelude as spiritual because it is about the infinite power and harmony of nature.   

The Prelude as intellectual as it is an attempt to define the role and potentiality of imagination.

Therefore, “The Prelude” is the most representative work not only of English romanticism, but also of European experience and its concomitant romantic idealism.

Critics view on The Prelude

M.H Abrams one of the most important critics comment on his work “Natural Supernaturalism” that the characteristic concepts and patterns of Wordsworth are not clearly displaced and reconstituted theology or else a secularized or of devotional experiences.

W.J. Harvey one of the critics says that the world of ‘The Prelude’ is not just the world of the mind communing with nature but it is also the worlds of the university, the metropolis and the arena of power and politics.

Stephen Gills a critic, says that memory is both the agent by which the poet expresses his past, so binding all the phases and past experiences, the poet retains the power of his being. And all his experiences haunt his adult with an inexplicable redemptive power.

The Prelude is a landmark in history of English literature, because it is a stupendous work by William Wordsworth.


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