In the Romantic period there was the tendency for the poet to draw on his own personality. Discuss The Prelude in the light of the given statement.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In one sense, this statement is certainly true, as the poem is given the subtitle of "An Autobiographical Poem." As such, nature, which is of course the main topic of the poem as it is in all of Wordsworth's poetry, is thus described in terms of how Wordsworth perceives it and how that perception has changed through the years. He does thus draw upon his own personality in terms of describing his growth and development and how his own personal philosophy of nature has developed. So much of the poem relates to the speaker telling his own story therefore, drawing upon his own experience, as in the following quote from Book I:

Content, and not unwilling now to give

A respite to this passion, I paced on

With brisk and eager steps; and came at length

To a green shady place where down I sat...

This quote is typical of the majority of the poem, as Wordsworth narrates a series of events that happened to him in the past. This poem can therefore be viewed as a series of events that describe Wordsworth's developing relationship with nature and his understanding of what nature represents. It is, in this sense, rightfully considered an autobiographical poem. However, at the same time, to regard it purely as an autobiographical poem is to rob it of some of its import. In some ways, Wordsworth adopts the figure of prophet that recalls the role that Milton and Spenser adopt in their works. It is also important to remember that way in which the events in the poem have been ordered and sequenced deliberately to reveal the movement from crisis to recovery exploring how the speaker is reborn with a very different understanding of himself and nature in a world that is itself very different. So although the poem does indeed draw upon the experiences of the poet, it is important to look beyond this and see the ways in which Wordsworth has not just written a poem about himself but has shaped those experiences for conscious effect.