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    which poem of william wordsworth is considered as his greatest autobiographical epic?


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    The Prelude

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    is an autobiographical poem in blank verse by the English poet William Wordsworth.[1] Intended as the introduction to the more philosophical poem which Wordsworth never finished, is an extremely personal work and reveals many details of Wordsworth's life.

    Wordsworth began in 1798, at the age of 28, and continued to work on it throughout his life. He never gave it a title, but called it the "Poem (title not yet fixed upon) to Coleridge" in his letters to his sister Dorothy Wordsworth. The poem was unknown to the general public until the final version was published three months after Wordsworth's death in 1850. Its present title was given to it by his widow Mary.


    1 Versions 2 Structure: and

    3 Literary criticism of

    4 Books of the 14-book

    5 Content 6 See also 7 References 8 External links


    There are three versions of the poem:

    The 1799 , called the , composed 1798–1799, containing the first two parts of the later poem.

    The 1805 , which was found and printed by Ernest de Sélincourt in 1926, in 13 books.

    The 1850 , published shortly after Wordsworth's death, in 14 books.

    was the product of a lifetime: for the last part of his life Wordsworth had been "polishing the style and qualifying some of its radical statements about the divine sufficiency of the human mind in its communion with nature".[2]

    Structure: and [edit]

    The poem was intended as the prologue to a long three-part epic and philosophical poem, . Though Wordsworth planned this project when he was in his late 20s, he went to his grave at 80 years old having written to some completion only and the second part (), and leaving no more than fragments of the rest.

    Wordsworth initially planned to write this work together with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, their joint intent being to surpass John Milton's .[3] If had been completed, it would have been about three times as long as (33,000 lines versus 10,500). Wordsworth often commented in his letters that he was plagued with agony because he had failed to finish the work.[] In his introduction to the version of 1850 Wordsworth explains that the original idea, inspired by his "dear friend" Coleridge, was "to compose a philosophical Poem, containing views of Man, Nature, and Society, and to be entitled the ; as having for its principal subject, the sensations and opinions of a poet living in retirement".[4]

    Coleridge's inspiration and interest is evident in his letters. For instance, in 1799 he wrote to Wordsworth: "I am anxiously eager to have you steadily employed on 'The Recluse'... I wish you would write a poem, in blank verse, addressed to those who, in consequence of the complete failure of the French Revolution, have thrown up all hopes of amelioration of mankind, and are sinking into an almost Epicurean selfishness, disguising the same under the soft titles of domestic attachment and contempt for visionary philosophies. It would do great good, and might form a Part of 'The Recluse'." (STC to WW, Sept. 1799).

    Wordsworth pays tribute to Coleridge in his introduction to the edition of 1850: "work [is] addressed to a dear friend, most distinguished for his knowledge and genius, and to whom the author's intellect is deeply indebted."[4]

    Literary criticism of [edit]

    According to Monique R. Morgan's "Narrative Means to Lyric Ends in Wordsworth's ," "Much of the poem consists of Wordsworth's interactions with nature that 'assure[d] him of his poetic mission.' The goal of the poem is to demonstrate his fitness to produce great poetry, and itself becomes evidence of that fitness."[5] It traces the growth of the poet's mind by stressing the mutual consciousness and spiritual communion between the world of nature and man.

    Books of the 14-book [edit]

    Introduction – Childhood and School-Time

    School-Time (Continued)

    Residence at Cambridge

    Summer Vacation Books

    Cambridge and the Alps

    Residence in London

    Retrospect – Love of Nature Leading to Love of Man

    Residence in France

    Residence in France (Continued)

    Residence in France (Concluded)

    Imagination and Taste, How Impaired and Restored

    Imagination and Taste, How Impaired and Restored (Concluded)



    The work is a poetic reflection on Wordsworth's own sense of his poetic vocation as it developed over the course of his life. Its focus and mood present a sharp and fundamental fall away from the neoclassical and into the Romantic. Milton, who is mentioned by name in line 181 of Book One, rewrote God's creation and The Fall of Man in in order to "justify the ways of God to men," Wordsworth chooses his own mind and imagination as a subject worthy of epic.

    This spiritual autobiography evolves out of 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, , lines 241-42). opens with a literal journey [during his manhood] whose chosen goal [...] is the Vale of Grasmere. narrates a number of later journeys, most notably the crossing of the Alps in Book VI and, in the beginning of the final book, the climactic ascent of Snowdon. In the course of the poem, such literal journeys become the metaphorical vehicle for a spiritual journey—the quest within the poet's memory [...]".[2]

    स्रोत : en.wikipedia.org

    blank verse

    The Prelude, in full The Prelude, or Growth of a Poet’s Mind, autobiographical epic poem in blank verse by William Wordsworth, published posthumously in 1850. Originally planned as an introduction to another work, the poem is organized into 14 sections, or books. Wordsworth first began work on the poem in about 1798. It would absorb him intermittently for the next 40 years, as can be seen in the fact that the poem went through four distinct manuscript versions (1798–99, 1805–06, 1818–20, and 1832–39). The Prelude treats as its central subject the narrator’s development as a poet, the forces that shaped

    blank verse

    poetic form

    Alternate titles: versi sciolti

    By The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica • Edit History

    Key People: Thomas Otway John Howard Payne Sir Robert Howard

    Related Topics: poetry sestina iambic pentameter

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    blank verse, unrhymed iambic pentameter, the preeminent dramatic and narrative verse form in English and also the standard form for dramatic verse in Italian and German. Its richness and versatility depend on the skill of the poet in varying the stresses and the position of the caesura (pause) in each line, in catching the shifting tonal qualities and emotional overtones of the language, and in arranging lines into thought groups and paragraphs.

    Adapted from unrhymed Greek and Latin heroic verse, blank verse was introduced in 16th-century Italy along with other classical metres. The Italian humanist Francesco Maria Molza attempted the writing of consecutive unrhymed verse in 1514 in his translation of Virgil’s Aeneid. Other experiments in 16th-century Italy were the tragedy Sofonisba (written 1514–15) by Gian Giorgio Trissino, and the didactic poem Le api (1539) by Giovanni Rucellai. Rucellai was the first to use the term versi sciolti, which became translated into English as “blank verse.” It soon became the standard metre of Italian Renaissance drama, used in such major works as the comedies of Ludovico Ariosto, L’Aminta of Torquato Tasso, and the Il pastor fido of Battista Guarini.


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    Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, introduced the metre, along with the sonnet and other Italian humanist verse forms, to England in the early 16th century. Thomas Sackville and Thomas Norton used blank verse for the first English tragic drama, Gorboduc (first performed 1561), and Christopher Marlowe developed its musical qualities and emotional power in Tamburlaine, Doctor Faustus, and Edward II. William Shakespeare transformed the line and the instrument of blank verse into the vehicle for the greatest English dramatic poetry. In his early plays, he combined it with prose and a 10-syllable rhymed couplet; he later employed a blank verse dependent on stress rather than on syllabic length. Shakespeare’s poetic expression in his later plays, such as Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Macbeth, and The Winter’s Tale, is supple, approximating the rhythms of speech, yet capable of conveying the subtlest human delight, grief, or perplexity.

    After a period of debasement, blank verse was restored to its former grandeur by John Milton in Paradise Lost (1667). Milton’s verse is intellectually complex, yet flexible, using inversions, Latinized words, and all manner of stress, line length, variation of pause, and paragraphing to gain descriptive and dramatic effect. In the 18th century, James Thomson used blank verse in his long descriptive poem The Seasons, and Edward Young’s Night Thoughts uses it with power and passion. Later, William Wordsworth wrote his autobiography of the poetic spirit, The Prelude (completed 1805–06; published 1850), in blank verse; Percy Bysshe Shelley used it in his drama The Cenci (1819), as did John Keats in Hyperion (1820). The extreme flexibility of blank verse can be seen in its range from the high tragedy of Shakespeare to the low-keyed, conversational tone of Robert Frost in A Masque of Reason (1945).

    Blank verse was established in German drama by Gotthold Lessing’s Nathan der Weise (1779). Examples of its use are found in the writings of Goethe, Schiller, and Gerhart Hauptmann. It was also used extensively in Swedish, Russian, and Polish dramatic verse.

    स्रोत : www.britannica.com

    William Wordsworth

    William Wordsworth was one of the founders of English Romanticism and one its most central figures and important intellects. He is remembered as a poet of…

    William Wordsworth


    Lebrecht Music and Arts Photo Library / Alamy Stock Photo

    William Wordsworth was one of the founders of English Romanticism and one its most central figures and important intellects. He is remembered as a poet of spiritual and epistemological speculation, a poet concerned with the human relationship to nature and a fierce advocate of using the vocabulary and speech patterns of common people in poetry. The son of John and Ann Cookson Wordsworth, William Wordworth was born on April 7, 1770 in Cockermouth, Cumberland, located in the Lake District of England: an area that would become closely associated with Wordsworth for over two centuries after his death. He began writing poetry as a young boy in grammar school, and before graduating from college he went on a walking tour of Europe, which deepened his love for nature and his sympathy for the common man: both major themes in his poetry. Wordsworth is best known for Lyrical Ballads, co-written with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and The Prelude, a Romantic epic poem chronicling the “growth of a poet’s mind.”

    Wordsworth’s deep love for the “beauteous forms” of the natural world was established early. The Wordsworth children seem to have lived in a sort of rural paradise along the Derwent River, which ran past the terraced garden below the ample house whose tenancy John Wordsworth had obtained from his employer, the political magnate and property owner Sir James Lowther, Baronet of Lowther (later Earl of Lonsdale).

    William attended the grammar school near Cockermouth Church and Ann Birkett’s school at Penrith, the home of his maternal grandparents. The intense lifelong friendship between William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy probably began when they, along with Mary Hutchinson, attended school at Penrith. Wordsworth’s early childhood beside the Derwent and his schooling at Cockermouth are vividly recalled in various passages of The Prelude and in shorter poems such as the sonnet “Address from the Spirit of Cockermouth Castle.” His experiences in and around Hawkshead, where William and Richard Wordsworth began attending school in 1779, would also provide the poet with a store of images and sensory experience that he would continue to draw on throughout his poetic career, but especially during the “great decade” of 1798 to 1808. This childhood idyll was not to continue, however. In March of 1778 Ann Wordsworth died while visiting a friend in London. In June 1778 Dorothy was sent to live in Halifax, Yorkshire, with her mother’s cousin Elizabeth Threlkeld, and she lived with a succession of relatives thereafter. She did not see William again until 1787.

    In December of 1783 John Wordsworth, returning home from a business trip, lost his way and was forced to spend a cold night in the open. Very ill when he reached home, he died December 30. Though separated from their sister, all the boys eventually attended school together at Hawkshead, staying in the house of Ann Tyson. In 1787,  despite poor finances caused by ongoing litigation over Lord Lowther's debt to John Wordsworth's estate, Wordsworth went up to Cambridge as a sizar in St. John’s College. As he himself later noted, Wordsworth’s undergraduate career was not distinguished by particular brilliance. In the third book of The Prelude Wordsworth recorded his reactions to life at Cambridge and his changing attitude toward his studies. During his last summer as an undergraduate, he and his college friend Robert Jones—much influenced by William Coxe’s Sketches of the Natural, Civil, and Political State of Swisserland (1779)—decided to make a tour of the Alps, departing from Dover on July 13, 1790.

    Though Wordsworth, encouraged by his headmaster William Taylor, had been composing verse since his days at Hawkshead Grammar School, his poetic career begins with this first trip to France and Switzerland. During this period he also formed his early political opinions—especially his hatred of tyranny. These opinions would be profoundly transformed over the coming years but never completely abandoned. Wordsworth was intoxicated by the combination of revolutionary fervor he found in France—he and Jones arrived on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille—and by the impressive natural beauty of the countryside and mountains. Returning to England in October, Wordsworth was awarded a pass degree from Cambridge in January 1791, spent several months in London, and then traveled to Jones’s parents’ home in North Wales. During 1791 Wordsworth’s interest in both poetry and politics gained in sophistication, as natural sensitivity strengthened his perceptions of the natural and social scenes he encountered.

    Wordsworth’s passion for democracy, as is clear in his “Letter to the Bishop of Llandaff” (also called “Apology for the French Revolution”), is the result of his two youthful trips to France. In November 1791 Wordsworth returned to France, where he attended sessions of the National Assembly and the Jacobin Club. In December he met and fell in love with Annette Vallon, and at the beginning of 1792 he became the close friend of an intellectual and philosophical army officer, Michel Beaupuy, with whom he discussed politics. Wordsworth had been an instinctive democrat since childhood, and his experiences in revolutionary France strengthened and developed his convictions. His sympathy for ordinary people would remain with Wordsworth even after his revolutionary fervor had been replaced with the “softened feudalism” he endorsed in his Two Addresses to the Freeholders of Westmoreland in 1818.

    स्रोत : www.poetryfoundation.org

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