The Prelude: Growth of a Poet's Mind by William Wordsworth

132 TUTOR: Fleur Lloyd

A sublime poem by the great Romantic, The Prelude is an autobiographical work, which evolves from Wordsworth's metaphor that life is a journey whose end is 'to arrive where we started'. The epic blank verse has universal themes, including love, joy, fear, 'spots of time' and how childhood shapes the way we perceive the world. The poet moves from his depression at the failure of the French Revolution towards the recovery of the imagination and a faith that there is something better for man. Those who enjoyed the tutor's course on Paradise Lost will relish the equally beautiful, but more familiar language of The Prelude, as will all.

3 AM
AM course

Course Notes

We will be studying The Prelude using the Penguin edition: The Prelude, The Four Texts (1798, 1799, 1805, 1850), which will enable us to compare easily the revisions that Wordsworth made to his poem across a lifetime.

You will each be provided with your own copy of the text.

Whilst no pre-reading is required, you are of course welcome to read any of it in advance as well as any other of Wordsworth's works and biography,

In The Prelude,Wordsworth uses the conversational language of his shorter poetry but he develops it into an epic form. The epic is customarily defined as a long narrative poem, which recounts heroic actions, commonly legendary or historical, and usually of one principal hero. The central "hero" of The Prelude is its author. The poem muses upon experiences from the poet's past, examining their philosophical and psychological significance. John Milton was Wordsworth's greatest idol and The Prelude is shaped by Milton's great poem, Paradise Lost. The Prelude internalizes Milton's concerns with the cosmos and the Fall of Man, by exploring the human psyche and the development of an individual mind.

Wordsworth's youth was spent amongst the hills and vales of the Lake District, which instilled in him a love of Nature. He drew spiritual comfort from this environment and developed a mystic faith in Nature's influence. The Prelude's imagery and diction reflect the natural world, especially the English countryside, and manages to capture much of the sublimity of that landscape.

All sessions will be completely interactive so that everyone has a chance to read the poetic language and discuss their reactions to it.

We will not be reading the poem in its entirety, but the sections we do study will be the finest and the week will most probably be structured as follows:

Day 1: Books I and II, exploring Wordsworth's memories of childhood

Day 2: Books VI and VII, recounting Wordsworth's journey across the Alps; then his residence in London

Days 3 and 4: Books IX and X, which dramatize Wordsworth's firsthand experience of the French Revolution and its aftermath

Day 5: The concluding Books, which celebrate the recovery of the power of the Imagination

Please note this is only a provisional programme and may be subject to change.

I look forward to welcoming you.

Course Tutor

Fleur Lloyd

About Fleur

Fleur Lloyd tutor, has worked for The Old Vic, The National Theatre and Shakespeare's Globe as well as teaching both literature, drama and creative writing in schools, colleges and universities. She has taught at Marlborough Summer School for 15 years.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 11 Jul - 15 Jul

WK 2 18 Jul - 22 Jul

WK 3 25 Jul - 29 Jul

WK 4 1 Aug - 5 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM