About this Edition

About this Edition

First published in 1810 and repeatedly revised by its author over the ensuing twenty-five years, William Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes has long been considered a crucial text for scholars of Romantic-era aesthetics, ecology, travel writing, and tourism. Though the fifth edition of 1835 (the last revised by Wordsworth) has remained available in reprints and scholarly editions, earlier editions of the Guide continue to be scarce. This is particularly true of the original 1810 version, which appeared as an anonymous accompaniment to a set of Lake District sketches by the Rev. Joseph Wilkinson.

The present edition, then, aims to give scholars, students, and general readers easy and open access to key editions of the Guide from Wordsworth’s lifetime, including full scans of Wilkinson’s 1810 sketches and Wordsworth’s texts of 1810 and 1835. Accompanying these original texts is an extensive scholarly apparatus that includes a historical and textual introduction to this edition; detailed footnotes on the texts; an annotated bibliography of previous scholarly editions and criticism on the Guide; and excerpts from letters by Wordsworth and his circle that shed light on the work’s production, reception, and revision.

Taking advantage of digital technologies, this edition also includes a parallel-text feature, which allows readers to readily visualize how Wordsworth altered particular passages across the five editions published between 1810 and 1835. Beyond this, the edition features a wealth of maps, engravings, and photographs of the Lakes and a geo-tracking feature that allows readers to pinpoint exact locations discussed in the Guide with the click of a mouse. Thus, while in many respects this aims to serve as a standard scholarly edition of the text, in others it offers a new, and hopefully fuller, experience with one of Wordsworth’s most illuminating, challenging, and compelling works.

About the Editors

Billy Hall

Billy Hall is Assistant Professor of English at Brigham Young University. His primary work explores the intersection of poetry, aesthetics, and technology both in and beyond the long eighteenth century. He is currently working on “The Lyric Poetry Project,” a macroanalytical approach to eighteenth-century poetry that examines the relationship between broad statistical trends in poetry and poetics and the conceptual backdrop of literary histories of the period. His professional blog can be found at williammhall.wordpress.com.

Nicholas Mason

Nicholas Mason is Professor of English at Brigham Young University. He is the author of Literary Advertising and the Shaping of British Romanticism (Johns Hopkins UP, 2013) and various essays on Romantic-era periodicals, advertising, and popular culture. His previous scholarly editions include a classroom edition of Edward Kimber’s The History of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Anderson (Broadview, 2009), the six-volume collection Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine 1817-1825 (Pickering and Chatto, 2006), and Volume 1 of British Satire, 1785-1840 (Pickering and Chatto, 2003).

Jarom McDonald

Jarom McDonald is Associate Research Professor and Director of the Office of Digital Humanities at Brigham Young University. His research interests include streaming media, web application development, XML Markup, and linked data. He has a PhD in American literature from the University of Maryland.

Shannon Stimpson

Shannon M. Stimpson is a doctoral student in English at The Pennsylvania State University. She completed her MA at Brigham Young University in 2012, writing a thesis on Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes and the River Duddon volume. Her scholarly interests include Romantic-era literature, biography, and rhetorical historiography.

Paul Westover

Paul Westover is Associate Professor of English at Brigham Young University and book review editor for The Journal of British Studies. A specialist in Romantic-era literary tourism, he is the author of Necromanticism: Traveling to Meet the Dead, 1750–1860 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). He is currently co-editing (with Ann Rowland) an essay collection called Transatlantic Author-Love: Inventing "English" Literature in the Nineteenth Century and researching a new book of "sketches" on literary devotion, travel, and material culture.

About the Design and Markup

This edition was TEI-encoded by Billy Hall at Brigham Young University. Final formatting and design were completed by David Rettenmaier, site manager at Romantic Circles, who (along with Laura Mandell) developed the modified versions of the transforms provided by the TEI that were used to convert the TEI files into HTML. TEI produces archival-quality electronic texts for better preservation and future access.


A host of individuals and organizations have helped make this edition of Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes possible. Thanks first to the team at Romantic Circles, beginning with Tilar Mazzeo, who encouraged this project from the outset, and Dave Rettenmaier, who cheerfully and patiently did much of the back-end technical and design work. We are also grateful to the anonymous peer reviewers and other important supporters of the project at Romantic Circles, including Steven Jones and Neil Fraistat.

On our home campus, Brigham Young University’s Office of Research and Creative Activities awarded us a much-coveted Mentoring Environment Grant, which allowed us to hire student collaborators and spend a week with them researching in the Lake District. BYU’s English Department and Office of Digital Humanities also provided generous funding for this project, and the university’s Title IX-supported Center for the Study of Europe contributed to our research and travel. (The contents of this edition were thus developed in part under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, though they do not necessarily represent the views or policy of the U.S. Government.)

Particular thanks go to the unrivaled Jeff Cowton, MBE, head curator at the Wordsworth Trust, and expert in all things Wordsworthian. A wondrous day spent with Jeff in the Jerwood Centre archives in the spring of 2011 has led not only to a much better edition but also to a long-term partnership between our university and the Wordsworth Trust that has already enriched the lives of dozens of BYU students and faculty members.

Others who have been especially generous with their time, resources, and expertise include Ed Vermue, Special Collections and Preservation Librarian of the Oberlin College Library, who provided the high-resolution scan of Smith’s New and Accurate Map of the Lakes (1800); Maggie Kopp, curator of BYU’s Rowe Wordsworth Collection, who facilitated access to the Guide’s various early editions as well as other key archival resources; Joel Silver of the Lilly Library at Indiana University, who supplied high-resolution scans of the 1810 Select Views; Patrick Vincent of the University of Neuchâtel and Bernhard Jenny of Oregon State University, who helped us along the trail of the Pfyffer terrain relief; and Sarah Barlow, a BYU student volunteer who assisted with other illustrations and permissions. Other friends of the project include Russ Taylor, BYU’s Associate University Librarian for Special Collections; John Talbot, our colleague and resident Latin translation expert; Jean-Robert Durbin of the Huntington Library’s Rare Book Department; John Mustain, Rare Books Librarian at Stanford University; and Emma Darbyshire of the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge.

While many of the photographs in this edition are our own, several others come from the public domain, including photos by David Benbennick, Tony Bennett, Nigel Chadwick, Lee Coward, Stephen Dawson, Raminus Falcon, George Ford, Eleanor Graham, Michael Graham, Roger Griffith, Francis Hannaway, Gordon Hatton, Geoff Hill, Stephen Horncastle, Les Hull, Mick Knapton, Simon Ledingham, Martin McCarthy, Tom Oates, Simon Rumble, Chrys Rynearson, John Salmon, Iain West, and Mick Wragg.

We are especially indebted to professional photographers who granted permission to use their work and to other scholars, collectors, curators, and website owners who provided materials. The following have kindly permitted us to reproduce images: Wayne Brittle (waynebrittlephotography.com), BYU Harold B. Lee Library, Eagle Intermedia Publishing (Roger W. Poultney, yorkshire-dales.com), Richard Fox and Alan Pratt (Jervaulxabbey.com), Getty Research Institute (Tracy Schuster), Gletschergarten Museum, Lucerne, Switzerland (Andreas Burri and Robert Wicki), Lake District National Park Authority (Helen Reynolds, Lakedistrict.gov.uk), Andrew Leaney (http://www.leaney.org/), Lilly Library, Indiana University (Breon Mitchell, Joel B. Silver, and David K. Frasier), Tina Mahoney (English-lakes.com), Sean McMahon (StridingEdge.net), Stephen Middlemiss, Jean and Martin Norgate (Old Cumbria Gazetteer), Oberlin College Library (Ed Vermue), Rob Shephard (Helvellyn Consulting, Ullswater.co.uk), Tate Britain (George Koutsoudopoulos), David M. Turner (Wold Ranger Photography), The Victoria and Albert Museum, Visitcumbria.com (Julian Thurgood; photographers Jan Fialkowski, Andrew Leaney, Simon Ledingham), Jan Wiltshire (cumbrianaturally.co.uk), and The Wordsworth Trust.