Wordsworth, environmental campaigner


Rydal Mount has joined forces with the University of Cumbria to give students on a new course an insight into the life of William Wordsworth.

Dr Penny Bradshaw is the leader of a new Masters degree course at the university, Literature, Romanticism and the English Lakes.

penny bradshaw

In their first week of study, her students will go to Rydal Mount, the house where Wordsworth lived for most of his life, and is still owned by his descendants.

And they will learn how Wordsworth the poet was also one of the first environmental campaigners.

Dr Bradshaw said: “Not only is William Wordsworth one of the most influential of British poets in terms of the development of poetic language, his insights regarding the importance of living in harmony with the natural environment seem to speak more powerfully to us today than ever before.

“Wordsworth teaches us to value and protect the natural landscape and shows us, through his own lived experience, how close and sympathetic engagement with the natural world can have a powerful effect on our own lives and well-being.”

The new course is based at the Ambleside campus and students will also work with Dove Cottage, where the poet lived for nine years.

Dr Bradshaw said: “The landscape of the English Lake District has been a source of inspiration to generations of poets and writers. This course offers a unique opportunity to study a rich body of literary and non-literary texts within the geographical landscape which inspired them, at the University of Cumbria’s Ambleside campus in the heart of the Lake District National Park.”

Students will explore critical ideas about the relationship between the creative imagination and place, and have the opportunity to visit some other locations which have inspired and which continue to inspire writers.

RM natural garden today

Wordsworth, environmentalist and gardener as well as poet

Curator at Rydal Mount Emily Heath said: “This is a really exciting new MA course and we are delighted that the students are coming here to see where Wordsworth lived and worked, and to absorb the atmosphere and spirit of this very special place.”

Rydal Mount, a mile north of Ambleside, is open to the public daily from 9.30am to 5pm, and visitors can also tour the extensive gardens.

For more information about the MA course: cumbria.ac.uk/maliteratureromanticism.

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