The Prelude: The Four Texts (1798, 1799, 1805, 1850) (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 28 Sep 1995
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From the Back Cover
The great Romantic poem of human consciousness, The Prelude takes as its theme 'the growth of a poet's mind'. In its search for the origins of the adult personality, The Prelude takes the reader back to the formative moments of childhood and youth: the baby at the breast, the boy ranging over the Cumbrian fells, the revolutionary undergraduate. In many ways it can be seen as the first modern poem, challenging Milton in its redefinition of epic, as Milton challenged Homer and Virgil. This new Penguin English Poets edition of The Prelude contains the brief first draft, Was It for This, composed in 1798; The Prelude in two books completed in 1799; and The Prelude in its 1805 and 1850 versions, printed here in parallel texts. The editor provides an invaluable introduction to the texts and fuller, more detailed notes than in any previous edition, as well as significant textual variants and a biographical table of dates.
About the Author
William Wordsworth was born in the Lake District in 1770 and died there eighty years later in 1850. He had three brothers and a sister, Dorothy, to whom he was extremely close. As an undergraduate at Cambridge, Wordsworth travelled widely and wrote poetry. He spent his twenties as a wanderer in France, Wales, London, the Lakes, Dorset and Germany. In France he fathered a child who he did not meet until she was nine, due to the war. In 1795 he was reunited with Dorothy and met Coleridge, who was to be a particular influence on his poetry. He became Poet Laureate in 1843.
Jonathan Wordsworth is descended from William's younger brother Christopher, is Chairman of the Wordsworth Trust and a Lecturer in Romantic Studies at Oxford.
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Top customer reviews
I wrote to Penguin two and a half weeks ago questioning the formatting, but have had no response; a pity I think.
Not surprisingly, Wordsworth's relationship with nature is a major theme throughout the poem. The direct effect of growing up in the countryside is perhaps revealed more plainly than in his other poems and a quasi-religious philosophy is evident.
This Penguin version seems to me to offer as much as one could want for a non-academic reader. The 120-odd pages of notes are quite sufficient to understand the poem thoroughly.
This book will appeal to anyone who enjoys romantic poetry, nature or autobiography. Not a book to be rushed though. Highly recommended.
His genius is alive through his lines, the beauty is alive through his verse, and poetry is alive through the Prelude.All that was in him is in the Prelude, obvious and ciphered, like the palimpsest of his memory. The Prelude is dedicated to all those who feel Nature`s throbbing heart, those who can hear poetry`s divine melody, those who love honesty, simplicity and complexity, those who want to recollect any feeling, any sensation forgotten or hidden in them. The Prelude is an ode to Nature, Youth, Joy, Love, War, Peace, Friendship, God, Poetry and any thing that composes Life. The Prelude is an ode to Memory, Remembrance, and to the memory of this incredible "Uber" man who, not hubrystically, succeeded in touching the grace of the God and of the Divine with the tip of his finger. He is one of these men who will never die, like Dante or Shakespeare, because even in the darkest future, there will ever be a line by him quoted for the eternity of time. Thank you, William. Et genius facta est.
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