Wordsworth's Prelude: A Study of Its Literary Form

Wordsworth's Prelude: A Study of Its Literary Form

Wordsworth's Prelude: A Study of Its Literary Form

Wordsworth's Prelude: A Study of Its Literary Form

Excerpt

This study has taken form, little by little, during the many years in which Arthur Beatty, Ernest de Selincourt, Helen Darbishire, and Raymond Dexter Havens have notably advanced our knowledge of The Prelude. Their interpretation of Wordsworth's doctrine, text, and mind would appear to leave few tasks for others; but there is always fresh occasion for the enjoyment of a poem as part of the fabric of poetry. Belles-lettres are closer to the poet than abstract ideas, even more akin to him than the events of his own life; like Nature they help him to create his 'spots of time.' Were it not too pretentious a title, this book might be called 'The Art of a Poet'; if it reveals anything of Wordsworth's art of poetry, then it should reveal something of the art of every poet.

Among the many instances of good fortune which have come to me of late, I must mention first the kindness of the family of Arthur Beatty, who put his orderly files at my service, and thus permitted me to observe that wise and reverent scholar on his patient way through the philosophy of the eighteenth century. I was the more willing to do this because I was not myself an expert in his field; my book was to be of another kind. I have, however, scrupulously indicated substantial help from him. His bibliographies, which I have shared with Professor Ernest Bernbaum, and his copies of passages from rare books, by shortening my labor, have extended my days.

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