Report from Grasmere (Marilyn Gaull)

This note came today from Marilyn Gaull, who is just back from the Lake District and has already been planning for next year’s Wordsworth Summer Conference at Dove Cottage.

It is hard to imagine a more festive summer. We delayed the thirty-fourth annual Wordsworth Summer Conference so that we could all attend the NASSR conference in New York City--which was awesome, including amazing talks, great company, and that inspired trip around Manhattan for our annual banquet. Then, it was off to Grasmere, where the party continued, Seamus Perry, Matthew Scott and Nicky Trott in a whole new setting, a compressed version of "Death's Jest-Book" in the living room of the Red Lion, and some of the best weather I can recall. Morning walks around the Lake, a special visit to Greenhead Ghyll to read "Michael," one of Molly Lefebure's memorable tours of Hawkshead, and, on the one rainy day, when the wind prevented our taking the launch to Brantwood, Ruskin's home, we had a rare quiet afternoon in Coniston, scattered in pubs and tea-rooms--a day we couldn't have planned yet one that worked out so perfectly. There were challenging hikes for the athletic, and a fine outing to Hadrian's Wall for the rest of us. In 2004 new friends will bring new adventures with them, and I know the conference will be entirely different. I hope everyone who wants to will find a way to join us. (The official announcement follows below--follow the link.) (cont'd)

Marilyn Gaull

The thirty-fifth annual Wordsworth Summer Conference will be held from July 31 to August 14 in Grasmere, Cumbria, UK. This charming village in a perfect valley has attracted writers, artists and scholars for the past two hundred years. It is the home of Dove Cottage, the award-winning Museum, Library, and the Center for British Romanticism.

The program is a rare combination of mental, physical, and social activity: lectures, informal papers, seminars, excursions to places of literary and historical interest, climbs up and along the great hills of the Lake District, poetry and play-readings, walks around the lake before breakfast, hikes and excursions to places of literary interest in the afternoon, festive meals, nightly discussions in the village pubs, and an auction of books and paintings conducted by Jonathan Wordsworth for the Wordsworth Trust. The theme is Romanticism, British and Continental, the literature, culture, lives, and times of the writers, thinkers, artists and the tradition of literary studies that has grown up around them. The speakers in 2004 will include Jonathan Bate, James McKusick, John Beer, Fred Burwick, Jane Stabler, Nicholas Roe, Seamus Perry, Jonathan Wordsworth, Gillian Beer, Michael O’Neil, Marilyn Gaull, and Christophe Bode.

Since its founding, the participants have included an international array of scholars, students, writers, professionals from many fields, all of whom, regardless of age, nationality, or experience find the ideal academy, creative center, and intellectual exchange. Since everyone participates, giving a paper or not, expenses for the conference are tax-deductible and appropriate for professional development. Also, with more than ninety hours of lectures, seminars, and excursions, students can earn up to four academic credits which we are pleased to validate through their institutions. The heart of our academy are the twenty minute research papers, followed by forty minutes of discussion on all aspects of Romanticism. Paper readers are required to participate in the full two weeks of the conference, without exception. They are the heart of our academy, and the continuity of our work depends on their participation.

The conference is residentially based at the luxurious and hospitable Red Lion Hotel in Grasmere, though alternate accommodations are available on request. For specific information about fees and rates in 2004, please visit We hope you will make Grasmere your destination in 2004. Here in the heart of the Lake District, for the first two weeks of every August, a community of friends and colleagues rediscover the alchemy of time, literature and art, personality and place that makes this conference unlike any event in the literary world. We hope you will join us.

Jonathan and Jessica Wordsworth

Marilyn Gaull

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