Poems of William Wordsworth (Selected) | The Prelude | Summary and Q&A

August 27, 2019
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Poems of William Wordsworth (Selected) | The Prelude


A summary of all 13 books of William Wordsworth's epic poem "The Prelude," covering his life, experiences, and poetic developments.

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Key Insights

  • πŸͺˆ The epic poem "The Prelude" is a detailed record of Wordsworth's emotional, spiritual, and lyrical development.
  • πŸ₯° Wordsworth emphasizes his love for nature and its significance in his poetic imagination.
  • ❓ The influence of his sister Dorothy and poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge is pivotal in his journey.
  • πŸ§‘β€πŸŽ“ The poem reflects Wordsworth's experiences as a student at Cambridge and his appreciation for solitude.
  • πŸ’¦ Wordsworth's travels to France and his observations during the French Revolution play a significant role in his work.
  • πŸ₯° The poem explores the connection between love of nature and love of mankind, portraying them in everyday lives.
  • πŸ“” Wordsworth's struggle with his mental and emotional state is highlighted in the later books of the poem.


William Wordsworth's epic poem the prelude is comprised of 13 books in unrhymed verse and although our study guide focuses on selected books all 13 are summarized right here each book's title signifies a period of Wordsworth's life including his hopes and experiences and a detailed record of his emotional spiritual and lyrical developments he prais... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the main theme of "The Prelude"?

The main theme of "The Prelude" is Wordsworth's emotional and spiritual development, with a strong focus on his relationship with nature and the power of imagination.

Q: How does Wordsworth describe his childhood and youth in the first two books?

In the first two books titled "Introduction" and "Childhood and School Time," Wordsworth describes how he gradually came to appreciate and rely on nature in his imagination as he grew up.

Q: Who are the important figures mentioned in the poem?

Wordsworth praises his sister Dorothy and the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, both of whom have a significant influence on his life and poetic development.

Q: What is the significance of the Alps in the poem?

In book 6, "Cambridge and the Alps," Wordsworth describes his experiences abroad, particularly his adventures in the European Alps. He praises the beauty of nature and the freedom it offers.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The epic poem "The Prelude" consists of 13 books, each representing a different period of Wordsworth's life.

  • The poem explores Wordsworth's relationship with nature, his admiration for his sister Dorothy, and his influence from poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

  • It concludes with Wordsworth's ultimate love for nature and the power of imagination.

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