Anna Fleming on Romantic Locations and after

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In the second of our pieces following on from Romantic Locations, Anna Fleming, of the University of Leeds, reflects on the conference and its aftermath.

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Over three days, thoughts on the Romantic conception of place were explored from within perhaps the most Romantic of locations: Dove Cottage, in the heart of the Lake District. Papers addressed the relationship between different authors and particular locations. From the Wordsworths’ process of making Grasmere a home, to continental tours, literary tourism, and the history of mountaineering, the papers were wide-ranging and probing. Alongside the stimulating discussions, the place itself provided the opportunity to directly experience a location in which Romantic ideas and poems were composed. (A candlelit drinks reception in the cottage itself certainly added to my sense of how the Wordsworths inhabited that space!) Jeff Cowton, curator of the Wordsworth Trust, treated us to a glimpse of some physical treasures from the archive, including manuscripts by Dorothy Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I then found many of the ideas raised in the conference were played out in the wider ‘Romantic location’ when I left the conference to explore another part of …read more