The Prelude by William Wordsworth (Edited by James Engell & Michael D Raymond) - review by Jan Morris

Jan Morris

Painting in Verse

The Prelude


Oxford University Press 281pp £30 order from our bookshop

was in transcendental mode when this book arrived. I was searching my mind for different meanings to my life, other tasks, other ways of fulfilment. Could there be subliminal purposes for us all? Ordained by whom? Agnostic that I am, I wondered if there really was some unimaginably different power or spirit out there, and if so, how should we get in touch with it? In the meantime should we rely in our ponderings chiefly upon fact, suggestion, truth or fancy? 

In short, I was discombobulated! Everywhere humankind, it seemed to me, was in squalid disarray, ugly and loveless, perhaps beyond redemption: the world, quoth I to myself, was too much with me. Then the postman turned up, and with him came William Wordsworth’s own 18th-century meditations on these

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