Wordsworth's Poem of the Mind: Essay on the "Prelude" by Ronald Gaskell
Wordsworth's spiritual autobiography, "The Prelude", has long been recognized as his finest poem and the key to any understanding of his work. This study offers a close reading of the 1805 "Prelude" (the first complete version of the poem) linking it with many of Wordsworth's shorter poems. The complexity of Wordsworth's thinking about the mind and its relationship with the world is looked at in depth with a discussion of three central questions - is it (as Coleridge came to believe) in our life alone that Nature lives? In our response to nature how much of what we perceive has been created by the mind? And how much authority should be given to the imagination, which is the mind at its most intuitive and energetic?