On Location in the Lakes

This module is about reading poetry and some other representative texts in relation to place. It focuses mainly on Wordsworth, both in himself and as a representative figure, but includes other writers and theorists.

We will be combining close study of texts and ideas of how landscape was (and is) viewed, with use of actual locations and a strong sense of place on the summer term field trip. The course aims to provide participants with a strong sense of Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century perceptions of place, through close study of key concepts such as the Picturesque and the Sublime and travel writings about the Lake District. It will then go on to focus on a range of Romantic authors looking at poetic and other texts in relation to issues of place and space. In particular we will dwell upon Wordsworth as the pre-eminent poet of place in relation to the Lakes, but the course will also study other Romantic and Victorian writing.

The module will consider key issues in relation to selected texts: the representation of real places and inhabitants in literature; different ways of “dwelling”; the value and importance of place names; imaginative appropriation of the actual. At the same time it will also place such ideas within a wider context in terms of current methodologies, particularly links between Romanticism and the conservation movement (“Romantic Ecology”), heritage and phenomenology of place as well as theories of representations which will be applied to literary texts, paintings, and buildings.