CFP – The 50th Anniversary Wordsworth Summer Conference

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Monday 10 August to Thursday 20 August 2020

Rydal Hall, Cumbria, England

The 2020 Wordsworth Summer Conference at elegant Rydal Hall will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary since Richard Wordsworth’s inaugural conference gathering in 1970. In this celebration year we will continue the format pioneered 50 years ago by Richard, mingling lectures, papers and lively academic debate with energetic fell walking, picturesque rambles, and excursions to places of Wordsworthian and Romantic interest. Upper and Lower Rydal Falls are within the grounds of the Hall, and Rydal Mount—Wordsworth’s home from 1813 until 1850—is a two-minute walk away.

By courtesy of the Wordsworth Trust, our opening night will include a candlelight visit to Dove Cottage, now restored to reflect the interior the Wordsworths would have known when they lived there. There will be a separate opportunity to explore the treasures of the Wordsworth Trust’s collections with the curator Jeff Cowton, and Part 2 will open with a visit to Wordsworth’s Rydal Mount and garden.

In 2020 our excursions are likely to include an all-day visit to Malham Cove and sublime Gordale Scar, seen below in Turner’s 1808 sketch towards his painting. High points for energetic fell walkers are likely to include ascents of Nab Scar and Great Rigg, Bowfell, Haystacks, and the mighty Helvellyn.

Format and Costs: The Conference is in two parts of 5 days each, with a changeover day on Saturday 15 August when those participating in both parts of the conference enjoy an all-day fell walk or excursion. The registration fee for residents, which includes excursions, offers exceptional value at £290 for ten days and £210 for five days. For postgraduates, we offer twelve Youth Centre Bursaries to enable attendance at approximately half the cost to the Foundation (see ‘Youth Centre Bursaries’). All resident participants will take all meals at Rydal Hall.

Full Board is available at Rydal Hall Diocesan Conference Centre at prices from £880 to £1160 for ten nights and either £550 or £600 at the adjacent Rydal Hall Youth Centre (5-night prices pro rata).

For full details of resident and non-resident rates, our terms and conditions, galleries of past conferences, and a registration page please visit the Foundation website:

For the latest news on the conference please visit:

Rydal Hall from the garden. Photo by Sharon Tai

Rydal Hall from the garden. Photo: Sharon Tai

Call for Papers

We invite proposals for twenty-minute papers on all aspects of William Wordsworth, his contemporaries and the Romantic period. Papers that identify a bicentenary theme, 1820–2020, will be welcomed but this is not intended as an exclusive requirement. Please note that participants presenting papers must attend as full participants for either all of Part 1 or all of Part 2, or for the whole ten-day conference. 

Proposals: 250-word proposals for papers of no more than 2750 words, together with a brief autobiographical paragraph, unformatted, should occupy no more than 2 sides of A4 in MS Word format. Please remember to include your name, institution and e-mail address on the abstract. Please do not send proposals as a pdf file as they will be copied into a composite document. Proposals should be e-mailed by 25 April 2020 to

Enquiries about accommodation should be e-mailed to the Conference Administrator, Irm Hollenbach, at

Youth Centre Bursaries for the 2020 WSC

Twelve Youth Centre Bursaries of £400 are available for the 2020 conference. These bursaries are intended to enable young scholars, principally at postgraduate and early post-doctoral level, to enjoy ten active and stimulating days in the unique environment of Rydal and Grasmere, for about half the cost of the event. Please bring this announcement to the attention of qualifying applicants.

5 Richard Wordsworth Bursaries for Postgraduate or Postdoctoral applicants working in English or Anglo-American Romanticism

5 Ena Wordsworth Bursaries for students working on William or Dorothy Wordsworth or in the Field of English Romanticism

1 Jonathan Wordsworth Bursary and 1 William Knight Bursary for Postgraduate students working on William Wordsworth or in the Field of English            

Terms and Conditions: Youth Centre Bursaries are intended to meet approximately half of the cost of attending the conference. Holders of bursaries will be so designated on the list of participants or the conference programme. The bursary will be applied in the first instance to conference fees, and the balance to accommodation in the new Rydal Hall Youth Centre, making the total cost of the conference in 2019, to a bursar, either £440 (in a 5 person dormitory) or £490 (in a 2 person dormitory) for the full ten-day conference programme and ten nights’ full board (the cost to the Foundation is c. £1,000). Costs may differ slightly for 2020. Youth Centre Bursars are expected to be resident during the conference in the Rydal Hall Youth Centre and to attend all lectures, papers and conference events: acceptance of a Bursary implies an undertaking to do so. Please note that by applying for a Youth Centre Bursary, you have indicated your agreement to be accommodated in the Youth Centre for the full period of the Summer Conference. It is not possible for Bursars to be accommodated in Rydal Hall.

Your application should be in the form of a Word attachment (not PDF) containing a paper proposal of 300 words, together with a short unformatted cv in the same file, the entire application being not more than two sides of A4 (the file will be copied and pasted into a composite file, so please avoid elaborate formatting). Applicants should also arrange for a short letter of academic recommendation to be sent independently to the same email address, verifying the applicant’s status and country of residence. Candidates need not specify which bursary they are applying for. They will automatically be considered for any bursary for which they are eligible.

Please note that we may award a bursary without having space to include the proposed paper on the conference programme: such papers may, however, be ‘taken as read’, that is, made available in print form at the conference, if the proposer so chooses.  Papers should be no longer than 2750 words (rapid delivery invariably impedes communication) and may address any area of Romanticism.

Bursary applications and references should be submitted by 25 April 2020 to Please be sure to identify your e-mail as ‘BURSARY APPLICATION’.

Giant Redwood Tree in Rydal Hall grounds with Nab Scar in the background. Photo: Richard Gravil

Nicholas Roe, Conference Director

Inês Rosa, Postgraduate Representative

Irm Hollenbach, Conference Administrator

We are of course monitoring the situation regarding coronavirus in the UK. At this stage we anticipate that we will run the 2020 Wordsworth Summer Conference as planned.

The Wordsworth Conference Foundation is a registered charity, number 1124319