To argue over whether this is a good book or not would indeed, as the former critic suggests, be pretentious. So without further ado let us name this a masterpiece, for two reasons. The first that it is a watershed in Romantic poetry, completely unprecedented by any other poet in its length and grandeur; and secondly, this poem spans over fifty years of Wordsworth's life and tells us more about the great man than probably any of the numerous biographies written of him: this in itself is remarkable.
To form a balanced arguement and not cherish this book further, it does have pitfalls in my opinion. The initial qualm is that the 1799 version of the Prelude far surpasses either of its two later reincarnations, partly due to its light and more enjoyable style of poetry that reflects the actual situations described in its discourse more accurately. The later versions of the epic poem can tend to be superfluous in places and sometimes difficult to comprehend what the poet is trying to convey.
This is a particular problem of mine being that i am studying this book at this present time in Uni. Should this book be read for leisure purposes only, this hurdle may be easily missed , but as this hurdle is only to common to my given situation i cannot award this book full marks.
Apart from enclosing the full three versions of Wordsworth's masterwork, this book also holds a number of critical reviews and essays on the poem which are invaluable should you be studying this poem, or plainly just wish to find out more about the great work.
Should you like this poem, i also recommend reading Wordsworth's other great poem, and one he declares better, The Excursion, found in its entirety on [...]