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Hinkel, H.H. (1976). The Character of the Poet: Wordsworth in “The Prelude.” Richard J. Onorato. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971. x + 435 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 63(1):157-158.
  

(1976). Psychoanalytic Review, 63(1):157-158

The Character of the Poet: Wordsworth in “The Prelude.” Richard J. Onorato. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971. x + 435 pp.

Review by:
Howard H. Hinkel

This radically different study of The Prelude uses essentially Freudian psychoanalytic concepts to understand the poet as a man in order to understand his autobiographical poem better. Its great contribution is its unusual approach to the usual problems of Wordsworthian criticism. Onorato explains the major emphasis of his work:

My own predisposition to assume the importance of the loss of a mother at age eight (and father at thirteen) leads to close readings of many intricately related passages and, while seeking the significance of that trauma in and to the poet's characterization of himself and his growth, seeks to confirm the appropriateness of making that assumption, (p. viii)

Onorato's special appreciation of this trauma leads to an interesting and provocative reconsideration of Wordsworth's relationship with nature.

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