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The Prelude

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 22 November 2007

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the greatest long poems in the English language – The Prelude. Begun in Northern Germany during the terrible winter of 1798 by a young and dreadfully homesick William Wordsworth, The Prelude was to be his masterpiece - an epic retelling of his own life and the foundation stone of English Romanticism. In language of aching beauty wordsworth expressed thoughts about memory, identity, nature and experience familiar to anybody who has walked alone among the hills.

With Rosemary Ashton, Quain Professor of English Language and Literature at University College London; Stephen Gill, University Professor of English Literature and Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford; Emma Mason, Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Warwick.

  • Further Reading

    Biography:

    Stephen Gill, William Wordsworth: A Life (OUP, 1989)

    The Prelude:
    Norton Critical Edition of 'The Prelude', ed. Jonathan Wordsworth, M. H. Abrams, and Stephen Gill (New York and London, 1979 and much reprinted)

    William Wordsworth, The Prelude: Four Texts (1798, 1799, 1805, 1850) (Penguin Classics paperback, Rev Ed, 1995)

    William Wordsworth's Prelude: A Casebook, ed. Stephen Gill (OUP, 2006)

    Coleridge on Wordsworth:

    Wordsworth's first and in many ways best critic is Coleridge; so see his poem To William Wordsworth (1807) and chapter 14 of his Biographia Literaria (1817, reprinted in several editions since)

    Coleridge & Wordsworth:

    A.S Byatt, Unruly Times: Wordsworth and Coleridge in Their Time (Vintage, 1997)

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge & William Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads: With a Few Other Poems (Penguin Classics paperback, 2006)

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