MS JJ and "The Two-Part Prelude" (Brief)

For many students studying Wordsworth today their first encounter with The Prelude might well be in the short form of the "Two-Part Prelude". The popularity of the poem in its two-book form comes about primarily because of its brevity, accessibility and the clear intensity of the poetry in these early books about childhood experience and memory.

However, the "Two-Part Prelude" is a recent editorial re-construction. Prior to the 1970s the early version was not widely known and, in fact, MS JJ as the earliest manuscript of The Prelude was overlooked by Wordsworth's editors until 1931. It was first published as a discrete text in the 3rd edition of the Norton Anthology of English Literature in 1974. For a full account go to:

Summary of Publications of MS JJ and "The Two-Part Prelude"

Helen Darbishire

1959

MS JJ Transcribed Text

Appendix 1 (p. 633-642).

Jonathan Wordsworth and Stephen Gill

1974

"The Two-Part Prelude (1799)" (p.195-218).

Stephen Parrish

1977

Reading Text: "The Two-Part Prelude, 1798-1799" (p.39-67)

MS JJ Reading Text (p.121-130)

MS JJ Photographs and Transcriptions (71-119)

+ All other MSS for "The Two-Part Prelude"

Jonathan Wordsworth, M. H. Abrams and Stephen Gill

1979

"The Two-Part Prelude" of 1799, p. 1-27

MS JJ presented as part of "MS Drafts and Fragments (1798-1804)". (p. 487-495)

Jonathan Wordsworth

1995

Separate text created for Prelude 1798: 150 lines of MS JJ entitled "Was It For This?"

Prelude 1799: "The Two Book Prelude".

To view three reading texts of MS JJ go to: