William Wordsworth, The Prelude, or Growth of a Poet's Mind

Yimon Lo (Catholic University of Leuven)
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Published posthumously in July 1850, three months after the death of William Wordsworth, The Prelude was the culmination of over fifty years of creative effort. Taking its central subject as “the growth of a poet’s mind”, The Prelude is an autobiographical poem that details the development of Wordsworth as a poet. It represents Wordsworth’s most sustained self-examination and his spiritual exploration of human nature. The poem is, in Stephen Gill’s perceptive words, “a self-conscious artefact” (1991, p. 3).

The Prelude is a product inspired by Wordsworth’s “dear Friend”, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and was intended to be an introduction or “preparatory poem” to the greater philosophical epic, The Recluse. Coleridge referred to The Prelude in his letter to Lady Beaumont

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Citation: Lo, Yimon. "The Prelude, or Growth of a Poet's Mind". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 May 2020 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7439, accessed 09 December 2023.]

7439 The Prelude, or Growth of a Poet's Mind 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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