The Earliest Wordsworth: Poems 1785-1790by William Wordsworth, Duncan Wu (Editor), W. Wordsworth
Many editions of William Wordsworth's mature work are available but general readers have never before had access to the poetry he wrote during his school and university years. This selection from the poetry he composed between 1785 and 1790 reveals him to have been remarkably accomplished from an early age and shows that from the time he began to write he was already preoccupied with precisely the themes that would later be explored more fully in The Prelude, the great poem of his maturity. The Earliest Poems offers a unique opportunity to examine something normally withheld from our gaze: the apprenticeship of a great writer. Duncan Wu's introduction and his comprehensive notes guide the reader through versions of Wordsworth's work to show how he graduated from the early experimentation of pieces such as 'Beauty and Moonlight' to An Evening Walk, an impressive poem of over 600 lines which was published in 1793. This book spans the first five years of Wordsworth's career, revealing how the traumas of his early life forged his vision and produced the sensibility that would make him a most gifted celebrant of the human spirit. In effect, they also chronicle the evolution of British Romanticism out of the aesthetic morass of the late eighteenth century.
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