Lifelong Learning Lecture Series: William Wordsworth: Our Contemporary
GUEST SPEAKER: Dr. Helen Heineman, President Emerita, Framingham State University
The great romantic poet William Wordsworth was born 250 years ago in a little market town in northern England. For all his distance from us, in space and time, he is our contemporary, mainly because he boldly chose himself as his great and best subject. His masterpiece is The Prelude, a poem of 13 books in iambic pentameter, never published in his lifetime and often called the finest 19th century English autobiography. He lived the longest of the tragically short-lived Romantic poets like Keats and Shelley, but was the most original. Resisting the influence of his 18th century forebears, he insisted on using the real language of people, and traced his creative life back to his infancy, prefiguring recent child psychology and the work of Freud. The Prelude’s first two books are the best, and this talk will concentrate on these, while summarizing the remainder, which encompass more than half his life. His daring subject is the birth of the creative imagination, as he gives the reader the experience of his childhood and young adulthood with vivid and haunting power. The lecture will also include images of his surroundings in paintings and drawings of his time.
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