What are the main themes in Wordsworth's The Prelude (books 9–14)?

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The Prelude is a long autobiographical poem that Wordsworth worked on for much of his adult life in which he describes his early years and his development as a poet sage. It is considered by many to be his masterpiece and offers insights into his poetry.

Books 9–12 cover Wordsworth's experiences of the French Revolution. The young Wordsworth was a radical for his time period (he would not seem radical to us, but was for those times) in that he supported the goals of the revolution, including republicanism rather than monarchy, liberty, universal brotherhood, and equality. He was idealistic and hoped France could achieve a new kind of society in which common people would have greater rights and freedom. He was in France when the revolution turned into a bloodbath and was deeply troubled by what he witnessed. He returned to England deeply depressed and wondered what his future would hold. He became disillusioned and wondered how he could make a difference for the common person.

Finally, as he outlines in the last books (13–14), he fully discovers his vocation as a poet sage. He believed he could be a bridge between his higher class world and that of humble people. He yearned to show the common person in a positive light and reveal how much benefit could be derived from living a simple life close to nature. He dwells on his childhood memories in book 13—memory was always important to Wordsworth—and how living close to nature helped to form him. Finally, in book 14, he climbs Mount Snowden with friends, feels himself infused with a spiritual force, and recognizes that he must continue to strive for enlightenment and meaning.

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One of the abiding themes in this section of The Prelude, as in Wordsworth's poetry in general, is the universal significance of the lives of the poor. In his early poetry, Wordsworth broke new ground in depicting the lives of those at the very bottom of society, which he did with considerable sympathy and respect. And both these qualities are much in evidence in Books 9-11 in The Prelude, where Wordsworth recounts his experiences as a young man in Revolutionary France.

Though he and his new friend Beaupuis often engage in discussion concerning abstract political ideas, the young poet's thoughts always return to what is particular and specific—to the miserable, wretched lives of the benighted French masses. The sight of a half-starved peasant girl leading an emaciated heifer is a concrete illustration of what Beaupuis and other French revolutionaries are fighting against. The young Wordsworth is sympathetic to their cause, and even though in due course he will turn against the revolutionary ardor of his youth, he will always retain a sense of sympathy for the very poorest members of society, seeing them as living, breathing, human beings whose stories deserve to be told.

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"The Prelude" relates Wordsworth's love of nature and beauty and its importance in his life.  It then deals with his disconnection from nature and ends with Wordsworth's reconnection with nature.  Wordsworth's themes include nature's great significance to humankind than simply aesthetic beauty. Wordsworth truly believed that a great appreciation of nature elevated humankind.  Below are a couple of quotes from the Enotes section on "The Prelude":

Throughout the poem, Wordsworth makes the distinction between reason and passion, and he attributes an ultimate sterility to the quality of reason while glorifying the element of passion or imagination.

The penultimate section of The Prelude is titled “Imagination and Taste, How Impaired and Restored.” At that period of his life he turned back to nature, finding there not solace alone but a sense of law and order lacking in human society. He began to realize the difference in scale between nature and people and the range and effect of nature in comparison to the tiny ineffectuality of human beings.

Wordsworth clearly feels that "logic and reason" are overrated and that the beauty of nature and what enlightenment it can provide is more important and of greater value in many ways.

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