"We see the embryo but not the complete birth, and it is thoroughly useful to have this version in readable form. Reprinted after the text are four useful modern critical essays; the 'analogy passage' which appears in MS W after Snowdon but not in Dr Wu's or any other editorial text; then, most useful, a schedule indicating the precise sources of Dr Wu's text; a very full index." S. J. Harrison, Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
From the Back Cover
The Five-Book Prelude
of March 1804 is the great work of Wordsworth's poetic maturity. Edited now for the first time by Duncan Wu from the original manuscripts at Dove Cottage, it contains some of the finest passages of poetry later to appear in the thirteen-book poem of 1804-5 - the spots of time, the Winander boy, the discharged soldier, recollections of Cambridge, the infant prodigy, and the climbing of Snowdon. At once less discursive than the thirteen- and fourteen-book versions, but with more of the great poetry than the 1799 two-part poem, the Five-Book Prelude
provides students and general readers alike with an approachable introduction to Wordsworth's greatest work. For many it is likely to become the "Prelude" of choice.