The Prelude

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The Prelude

  1. 1. The PreludeWilliam Wordsworth
  2. 2. William Wordsworth• 1770 – 1850• Known as the “father” of Romantic Poetry• Revolutionized poetry• Wrote about ordinary life and nature in common language• By the time he was 13 he was an orphan
  3. 3. William Wordsworth• Born and raised in the beautiful Lake District of England – this beautiful natural environment became the basis of many of his poems• Entered Cambridge University in 1787 and after graduation he traveled Europe• Spent time in France where he embraced the ideals of the French Revolution
  4. 4. William Wordsworth• Fell in love and had an affair with Annette Vallon• Lack of funds forced his return to England in 1793• Shortly after England declared war on France and the Revolution became more bloody and violent and Wordsworth became very depressed• His sister Dorothy and fellow poet Coleridge helped him through it• In his later years Wordsworth became more conservative
  5. 5. The Prelude• Prelude – preceding something else (usually a longer or more important work)• Wordsworth conceived the poem as preface for The Recluse
  6. 6. The Prelude• The Recluse was to be his greatest work in which Wordsworth would discuss his philosophy• The Recluse was never finished• He discusses the creation of “The Poet”• Autobiographical but not strictly
  7. 7. The Prelude• This section is about his involvement with The French Revolution• “meager, stale, forbidding ways/Of custom, law and statute…” were replaced by “The attraction of a country in romance”• “Reason seemed to assert her rights” – personifies reason (logic, fairness) into a woman an “enchantress” who seduced the people into declaring her rights
  8. 8. The Prelude• “The inert/Were roused…They who had fed their childhood upon dreams…they, too of gentle mood…”• All the people were swept up in the revolution and the ideals of freedom• “Not in Utopia” – they dared to dream of this land of equality and justice here on earth in their country• “We find our happiness, or not at all!” – change in tone• From an idealist positive tone to one of pessimism and doom
  9. 9. The Prelude• “But now become oppressors in their turn…changed a war of self-defense to one of conquest” – the war that began as a war of freedom has changed to one of greed and conquest – speaks to his disillusionment and realization that power corrupts• “The scale of liberty[symbolism]. I read her doom[personification],/With anger vexed, with disappointment sore,…”- uses these poetic devices to help the reader visualize and experience the loss of the ideals of the revolution and the travesty of a people who were used and lied to
  10. 10. The Prelude• “ To anatomize the frame of social life,/ Yea, the whole body of society/ Searched to its heart,…”• He personifies society – he studies the body of it• “Dragging all precepts…Like culprits to the bar” – personification – “to the bar” refers to being brought before a judge• After analyzing society and making judgments all he is left with is “Sick, wearied out with contrarieties,/ Yielded up moral questions in despair.”• Speaks to his disillusionment, confusion and despair after the French Revolution

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