The winter conference will be held in
Grasmere from 28th February to the 2nd of March
The Summer Conference was created in 1970 by Richard Wordsworth, the great-great grandson of the poet, in collaboration with Marilyn Gaull of The Wordsworth Circle, to celebrate Wordsworth's work and influence on the bicententary of his birth.
The extraordinary ethos of the conference, which was designed to appeal to academics and enthusiasts alike, owes much, also, to Sylvia Wordsworth, its administrator for almost thirty years, Molly Lefebure, the Cumbrian expert and Coleridge biographer, who instituted its rich programme of walks and excursions, Jonathan Wordsworth, who directed the conference from 1993 to 2005, and the genial and learned chairmanship (for almost two decades) of Bill Ruddick. The conference combines high level academic discourse (in the form of lectures and research papers) with vigorous fell walks and significant excursions.
Its influence on Wordsworth and Romantic Studies has been incalculable. A list of past lecturers would amount to a Who's Who of Romantic Studies. Many great works of criticism and scholarship were first aired here, including classic essays by Jonathan Bate, John and Gillian Beer, Frederick Burwick, David Erdman, Geoffrey Hartman, Thomas McFarland, Lucy Newlyn, Nicholas Roe, E. P. Thompson, Nicola Trott, Jonathan Wordsworth and others, and many enduring scholarly projects were conceived on the fells and over dinner.
Formerly the Winter School, the Wordsworth Winter Conference was founded in 1983, and is a four-day event that meets among Wordsworth’s books and manuscripts in the Reading Room of the Jerwood Centre, Grasmere. It consists of lectures and papers by scholars at all stages of their careers, afternoon walks, and evening entertainments that might include poetry readings, musical presentations, or candlelight tours of Dove Cottage. We are hosted by the generous staff of Wordsworth Grasmere, who promise us good food, good tea, and plenty of Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread.