Two Consciousnesses: The Prelude (2)
The previous chapter has been concerned primarily with exploring how The Prelude came to be written, and what the consequences for criticism of that process were. This included taking account of the fact that the poem appeared as a series of proliferating published texts only after the poet’s death. Although this chapter will continue to bring forward additional examples from The Prelude for discussion, its main purpose is to develop further a consideration of the diversity of critical discourses that confront a reader of Prelude texts in our own time. As with the previous chapter, a case continues to be made for suggesting that when Wordsworth described himself in The Prelude as a divided being, ‘conscious of myself, / And of some other being’, he describes a pervasive condition of fragmentation that applies to his readers and critics, and the world in which they live, every bit as much as it applies to his own circumstances.
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