William Wordsworth's The Prelude - an autobiographical epic

Ref: C3529047

William Wordsworth’s The Prelude – an autobiographical epic We share a journey through the 13 books of this astonishing, life-changing ‘philosophical poem’. Published in 1850, just after Wordsworth’s death, the poem was complete in a first version in 1805, written in the aftermath of the poet’s experiences in revolutionary France, and after meeting Samuel Taylor Coleridge (author of ‘The Ancient Mariner’), to whom The Prelude is addressed. Over ten weeks we read together key sections from the poem, re-constructing the historical events through which Wordsworth navigated, and paying close attention to his growing sense of vocation in the face of personal loss and political upheaval.

Course aim

To engage in the creative reading of the great autobiographical epic poem 'The Prelude', by William Wordsworth (1770-1850). To understand the relationship between the poet's vocation and the turmoil of historical and political events.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Confidently appreciate challenging literary texts.
  • Understand the nature and achievement of classic literary texts.
  • Understand the reality of poetic vocation in times of political upheaval.
  • Appreciate the process of revision and self-understanding which governs the composition of an epic poem.
  • Appreciate the demands of the poetic autobiography.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • Need a copy of the Penguin Classics edition of William Wordsworth: The Prelude (The Four Texts (1798, 1799, 1805, 1850)) (publ. 1995).

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

Download full course outline

William Wordsworth's The Prelude - an autobiographical epic Course Outline

Enrolment Conditions

You can enrol online if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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