The Prelude - William Wordsworth

The Prelude (Parallel Text, Penguin) - William Wordsworth

Okay, my inner philistine is out in force today. Wordsworth's autobiographical, book-length poem The Prelude is undoubtedly well-written, artistically constructed and technically skilled, but it annoyed me no end. Worse, it left me cold, which I feel is the exact opposite of what poetry's effect should be.

 

My main problems with it are essentially the same as my reasons for disliking Lyrical Ballads: it's pretentious (our poet would like to think that he is a genius such as is rarely seen upon this earth), it romanticises poverty in ways that are really quite objectionable, especially from Wordsworth's rather middle-class viewpoint, and it's often fairly misogynistic.

 

Oh, and pointless. I sat and read the whole thing, and I still have no idea what Wordsworth was blathering on about.