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Make the most of your visit while attending this event and take a tour of Dove Cottage and gardens.

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Talks

Further readings in The Prelude 1805

Jerwood Centre

13 December 2017
2.15 - 4.00pm

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As one who hangs down-bending from the side
Of a slow-moving boat upon the breast
Of a still water…                                                                Prelude 1805, IV, 247 – 61

With this comparison Wordsworth suggests the long and slow probing into his own past that is the subject of this poem. His imagined boat is moving, albeit slowly, and the person hanging over the side and down-bending is often ‘perplexed, and cannot part / The shadow from the substance’.  Nor can the poet, musing on memory, claim absolute certainty about either experience or its significance.  Peering through water requires a steady eye; peering at one’s own growth through the thoughts and feelings of the past requires a scrupulously honest eye, and a mind that tries to understand.

This autobiographical poem simmered in Wordsworth’s head over years.  It is not a deliberate and chronological orderly account.  Times past and present mingle, and the result is a slow build-up of the reader’s knowledge of the writer’s mind.  You can enter the poem anywhere, no matter whether you have attended these classes before or miss one here or there – the same mind with the same complex expressiveness, often moving and musical, will be at the self-imposed and utterly original task of patiently down-bending from the side of that slow-moving boat upon the breast of the still water of time.

We meet between 2.15 and 4.00pm on eight occasions in the coming months.  Some texts will be provided; discussion of the poem begins with the comparison in Book IV quoted above.  There will be a cup of tea afterwards.

Wednesday 4 October, 1 November, 29 November, 13 December, 17 January, 14 February, 14 March, 11 April

Cost: £10 per session or £70 for eight

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