News and Commentary from the British Association for Romantic Studies

Report from the BARS/Wordsworth Trust Early Career Fellow 2018

Dr Lucy Linforth arrived at Dove Cottage just a few days ago to take up her position as the BARS/Wordsworth Trust Early Career Fellow. She will spend the next month living, researching and collaborating with others in Grasmere. Here’s an initial report from Lucy: 

I am visiting Dove Cottage in Grasmere for the month of February, for the BARS and Wordsworth Trust Fellowship, during which time I will be exploring Wordsworth’s material world, including his home and the objects housed there, as well as the collections held by The Wordsworth Trust in both the Wordsworth Museum and at the Jerwood Centre. Though Wordsworth is most often admired as a poet of the mind, my research will focus upon Wordsworth’s poetry and the material world: his fascination with ‘the life / In common things’, a fascination which appears so often in his poetry (The Prelude 1.117-8). Over the coming weeks, it is my hope that I will be able to suggest opportunities for connections between poems and objects at Dove Cottage, and which may ultimately result in an invitation to visitors to engage with both objects and poetry in new ways. For my first two days here, I’ve been enjoying a thorough exploration of Dove Cottage, a visit to the Wordsworth Museum and exhibitions, and I have also spent time at the Jerwood Centre, which contains a vast repository of letters, books, paintings, and artefacts. Owing to the thick layer of snow which has fallen since I’ve arrived here at Grasmere, the smoke curling upwards from the chimneys at Dove Cottage only adds to the welcoming feel of the cottage, warm and homely amidst the cold but beautiful snow-covered hills all around.


Lucy standing with Senior Guide Hazel Clarke overlooking Dove Cottage on the first day of her fellowship


A bit more about Lucy and her research background:

I have recently completed my PhD at the University of Edinburgh. My doctoral thesis, titled ‘Fragments of the Past: Walter Scott, Material Antiquarianism, and Writing as Preservation’, explored the antiquarian materiality of Scott’s fiction. Working closely with the material collections exhibited at Abbotsford, I explored Scott’s participation in contemporary antiquarian practices such as collection and conservation, and suggested that Scott’s fictions frequently acted as textual extensions of his material practices to offer spaces in which the material past could to be preserved and exhibited. My research interests lie in the material culture of late eighteenth and nineteenth-century literature, including Gothic literature, antiquarianism, graveyard poetry, and ballads. I currently work as an Education Assistant at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and also as a Heritage Engagement Assistant at Abbotsford, the Home of Sir Walter Scott in the Scottish Borders.

– Lucy Linforth

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