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Wordsworth’s ‘Spots of Time’

Listen to Professor Keith Hanley reading Wordsworth’s account of his most influential childhood episodes, which he calls ‘spots of time’.
There are in our existence spots of time which with distinct preeminence retain a fructifying virtue, whence, depressed by trivial occupations and the round of ordinary intercourse, our minds, especially the imaginative power, are nourished, and invisibly repaired. Such movements chiefly seem to have their date in our first childhood.

Central to The Prelude are the two themes of childhood and memory. While much of the poem describes Wordsworth’s childhood adventures in the Lake District, the poet is equally concerned with how he remembers these episodes and what ongoing influence they have in his adult life.

Wordsworth describes his most influential childhood episodes as ‘spots of time’. You can listen here to Professor Keith Hanley reading Wordsworth’s account of these ‘spots of time’.

Read and think about this passage carefully. In the next step, we will be asking you some questions about it.

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William Wordsworth: Poetry, People and Place

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