Talk:The Prelude

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Philosophical literature


In his critique of both Romantic conservatism (in German philosophy) and utilitarianism, as manifest in classical economics, Marx persistently demolishes all kind of conceptualizations, which are not based on "people’s materialistic connection."

Another reference: Michael Hughes, `Young England and Young Russia: the Ambiguous Roots of Romantic Conservatism', Scottish Slavonic Review 21 (1994), pp.7-31.

Is this the Romantic Conservatism that Wordsworth was into?

"common consent"?[edit]

"The Prelude is by common consent[citation needed] the poet's greatest work", the article says...

Don't bet on it... One good reason for that "citation needed" tag is that there are so few things in the world which are backed up by "common consent".

In this instance I have my grandmother's copy of "The Poems of Wordsworth", here, and it starts off with a "Publisher's Preface" reading as follows: my emphasis added --

"This present Edition of Wordsworth has been carefully revised, and numerous additions have been made to it. It now comprises all the Poet's best and finest poems (with his latest corrections), and is indeed complete, with the exception of 'The Prelude', his last work, which was published after his death, and is not generally considered equal to his former poems."

-- that from a Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd. "Chandos Classics" edition, no editor's name or even date given -- my grandmother's note to my grandfather, on the title page, says, "Grasmere, May 22 1930" -- perhaps not the latest word in scholarly exegesis, but still exactly the type of pocket text which saw an entire late-Victorian and Edwardian generation through its passionate love affair with Wordsworth -- but they didn't love "The Prelude", they didn't even like it.

The fact that we do, nowadays, love "The Prelude", may be culturally-conditioned, then: temporally, too, perhaps. And other folks elsewhere on the planet, and our own grandchildren, may consider it silly, and may value Wordsworth's ramblings about "daffodils" a great deal more. Before we make global statements such as the one the article currently makes, then, we do need at least to cite sources.

Here is what the editors of another, more recent, edition of the poem says in its preface: "his masterpiece", they call it -- "the biographical poem which he had written in two parts in 1799 and then expanded to its full length in 1805, but which he continued to revise almost to the last decade of his long life" -- "Wordsworth is above all the poet of the remembrance of things past". That is from page 113 of my "The Norton Anthology of English Literature" 3rd ed. vol. 2 (New York : Norton, c1974, 1968, 1962) -- multiple editors, although the editor of this particular section appears to have been Robert Adams of UCLA -- perhaps this reference could serve as the citation demanded...

But unless the article is rewritten a bit, such a cite would be misleading. Adams was writing in the early 1970s, for one thing: that now was over 30 years ago, a full generation.

The point may be, in fact, that there is no "common consensus" as to which of Wordsworth's many poems was his "best" -- that such consensus varies, and comes and goes, instead. Better said, then, the "current" or "1970s" consensus may be or have been that "The Prelude" was this early-19th c. poet's "best" output; but it also must be noted that the late Victorians and the Edwardians preferred something different -- not "the poet of the remembrance of things past" but England's "most distinguished philosophical poet", as my grandmother's edition calls Wordsworth -- and there is some difference, there. Although Wordsworth himself didn't think much of,

"... that false secondary power by which
In weakness we create distinctions, then
Believe our puny boundaries are things
Which we perceive, and not which we have made."

-- so I wonder what he would have made of 20th c. "analytical" philosophy, and of his own inclusion within that -- both the times and frames of reference change, in merely 30 years not to speak of 100.

Poets are difficult to label. Any label does them a disservice, if they are any good. So I suggest the label offered here for Wordsworth doesn't fit, citation or no citation: better that he go unlabeled, perhaps -- uncategorized -- and that people just read him, and then make up their own minds about "liking" a poem of his, or not.

--Kessler 23:46, 14 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Improving the article[edit]

This article could probably benefit from a major overhaul. It's also worth noting the distinction between the 1805 and the 1850 versions, the former being preferred. Wordsworth in his later senile years heavily edited the Prelude, and the 1850 version is that edited/adulterated work. The 1805 text is more popular and more acclaimed. This might account for Kessler's source. --Nick 04:44, 12 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wordsworth as. Eliot?[edit]

This spiritual autobiography holds Wordsworth's persistent metaphor that life is a circular journey whose end is "to arrive where we started / And know that place for the first time" (T. S. Eliot, "Little Gidding," lines 241-42).

How can we say that the thesis of Wordsworth's magnum opus is in the poetry of Eliot? There are many other places in his own poetry to find a more suitable metaphor. I'm thinking somewhere on Snowdon or in Book XI, about Spots of Time.Elliotb2 04:01, 12 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed, hauling in Eliot to formulate Wordsworth's central metaphor seems rather bizarre. Ludwig X (talk) 15:53, 21 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why only three versions?[edit]

Why doesn't the article mention the five-book version of 1804? —Quasirandom (talk) 00:15, 19 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In Our Time[edit]

The BBC programme In Our Time presented by Melvyn Bragg has an episode which may be about this subject (if not moving this note to the appropriate talk page earns cookies). You can add it to "External links" by pasting * {{In Our Time|The Prelude|b00899w0}}. Rich Farmbrough, 03:22, 16 September 2010 (UTC).Reply[reply]