About This Edition


About This Edition

Dorothy Wordsworth is one of the most distinctive voices of Romantic-era literature: the author of extraordinary journals, poems, narratives, letters, and natural descriptions. This edition celebrates her work as a literary guide to the English Lake District. It offers access to works from across her career, all newly edited from manuscripts, extensively annotated, and situated within their original material formats and circumstances of composition. While some of the selections are general favorites, others are less well known and a few (selections from the Rydal Journals) have never before been published.  

About the Editors

Michelle Levy is Professor of English at Simon Fraser University. She has published extensively on women’s literary history and female authors of the Romantic period, including Jane Austen, Anna Barbauld, Mary Shelley, and Dorothy Wordsworth, as well as on book history and digital humanities. Dr. Levy is the author of Family Authorship and Romantic Print Culture (Palgrave, 2008), coeditor of The Broadview Reader in Book History (2014), and coauthor of The Broadview Introduction to Book History (2017), both with Tom Mole. Her most recent books are Literary Manuscript Culture in Romantic Britain (Edinburgh, 2020), and with Betty Schellenberg in the Cambridge University Press Elements series, How and Why to Do Things with Eighteenth-Century Manuscripts (2021). 

Nicholas Mason is Professor of English at Brigham Young University. His recent publications include a coedited Romantic Circles edition (with Paul Westover) of William Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes (1st ed. 2015, 2nd ed. 2020), the coedited essay collection (with Tom Mole) Romantic Periodicals in the Twenty-First Century: Eleven Case Studies from Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (Edinburgh University Press, 2020), and the monograph Literary Advertising and the Shaping of British Romanticism (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). Building upon his work on the first and last Rydal Journals notebooks for this edition, he has contracted with Liverpool University Press to publish a critical edition of all fifteen notebooks in 2023 or 2024. 

Paul Westover is Professor of English at Brigham Young University and the author of Necromanticism: Traveling to Meet the Dead, 1750–1860 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). He was a lead editor (with Nick Mason) for the Romantic Circles edition of Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes (2015, 2020) and coeditor, with Ann Wierda Roland, of Transatlantic Literature and Author Love in the Nineteenth Century (Palgrave, 2016). His ongoing research focuses on literary tourism and literary geography in the British Isles.  

About the Design and Markup

This edition was TEI-encoded by Lavender Earnest and Emily Stephens. The banner image for this volume is from a New Map of the District of the Lakes, in Westmorland, Cumberland, and Lancashire, scale about 4 miles to 1 inch, by Jonathan Otley, engraved by J. and G. Menzies, Edinburgh. The map dates from 1817 to 1818. This copy appears in Otley’s A Concise Description of the English Lakes, 5th ed. (Keswick, 1834). (Courtesy: SFU Library, Special Collections and Rare Books) 

Laura Mandell and Dave Rettenmaier developed the modified versions of the transforms provided by the TEI that were used to convert the TEI files into HTML. TEI renders text archival quality for better preservation and future access.


We are grateful to Romantic Circles editors, past and present, who have supported this project, and above all to Michele Speitz, current editor of electronic editions, for her energetic investment over a number of years. And, for their efficient and expert assistance at the copyediting stage, we offer hearty thanks to Kim Sandoval and Heather Randall of BYU’s Faculty Publishing Service. 

Like many researchers in the field of Romantic studies, we owe profound thanks to the Wordsworth Trust, which owns over 90 percent of the extant manuscripts of Dorothy and William Wordsworth. Jeff Cowton, MBE, Principal Curator and Head of Learning, has provided access to priceless materials, advised us, and encouraged us at all stages of this project. Other friends at the Trust who have lent crucial support to us and our students include Melissa Mitchell-Gorman and Rebecca Turner. We are also grateful to Michael McGregor, the Robert Woof Director, along with all of the trustees for granting us permission to reproduce numerous manuscript pages and illustrations in this edition.  

A generous Mentoring Environment Grant from Brigham Young University (BYU) provided an initial impetus for this project and a framework for collaborating on research and early transcriptions with a series of BYU undergraduates who completed semester-long internships at the Wordsworth Trust between 2015 and 2019. These students were, in alphabetical order, Carol Allred, Corinne Bird, Holly Boud, Sylvia Cutler, Madeline Drewes, Kristen Evans, Conor Hilton, Rachel Hludzinski, Mary Jensen, Kristina Jorgensen, Chelsea Lee, Madison Maloney, Amanda Ricks Smith, and Madeline Thompson. Other student researchers, including Elizabeth Condie, Nicole Grant, and Sarah Safsten, helped in various ways on BYU’s campus.  

From Simon Fraser University, students Britney Burrell, Lindsey Seatter, and Emily Seitz offered invaluable assistance in the transcriptions of DCMS 120 and early versions of its encoding, Kate Moffatt and Reese Irwin provided the annotations describing differences between the Dove Cottage manuscript of the Greens narrative and that held by the British Library, and Sara Penn assisted with checking transcriptions of the poetry. 

While this edition’s rendering of Notebooks 1 and 15 of the Rydal Journals (RJ) is ultimately our own, we made several changes while cross-checking it against the partial transcriptions of earlier scholars. Especially while trying to crack the code of Dorothy’s handwriting, we benefitted immensely from an unpublished transcription of roughly one-quarter of the RJ that Carl Ketcham bequeathed to the Wordsworth Trust upon his passing in 1991. The earliest drafts of our transcription were produced by BYU students Amanda Ricks Smith, Sarah Matthews, and Mary Jensen, who braved months of headaches, eyestrain, and exasperation to decipher entries that Ketcham skipped. And the final drafts have benefitted from the expertise and keen editorial eye of Susanne Sutton, an independent researcher who made a transcription of her own in Grasmere in 2009.  

This edition’s cartographic features would not have been possible without the assistance of Teresa Gomez, Geospatial Data, Analysis, and Technology Specialist at BYU’s Harold B. Lee Library. Grace Tueller, Teresa’s student assistant, helped build the interactive map of the 1805 Ullswater tour. Sara Safsten, research assistant to Paul Westover, helped design both the static map and immersive Story Map Cascade that illustrate “Excursion up Scawfell Pike.” Thanks also to Brian Croxall of the BYU Office of Digital Humanities, who introduced us to the ArcGIS StoryMaps platform.  

Other curators and archivists who helped along the way include Ivana Frlan of University of Birmingham Special Collections; Kaitlyn Krieg and Sal Robinson of the Morgan Library and Museum; Florence Dall, Archives Officer at Queen Mary University of London; Maggie Kopp and Gordon Daines of BYU’s Harold B. Lee Library; and Melissa Salrin of the SFU Library. We also have received valuable suggestions from Simon Bainbridge, David Bradbury, Lucy la Zouche, Devoney Looser, Jo Taylor, Susan Wolfson, and members of BYU’s Nineteenth-Century Book History Study Group, especially Jamie Horrocks and Leslee Thorne-Murphy. And warm thanks and remembrances to the This Girl Did team, who mounted an exhibition on Dorothy Wordsworth and women mountaineers at the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere and in October 2018 organized reenactments of Dorothy’s excursions on Skiddaw and Scafell Pike. Thanks, too, to the filmmakers who documented these events: Kate Usher and Esther Edusi (Top Hat Flies Over Edge: A Walk up Skiddaw) and Jago Miller, Ben Barden, and Richard Berry (Journeywoman: Walking in the Footsteps of Dorothy Wordsworth).  

Although many of the illustrations in this edition are our own, we are indebted to collectors, website owners, curators, and photographers who provided us with materials and information, especially during 2020–2021, when the pandemic made it impossible to travel to England to take our own photographs. In particular, we wish to thank Hermione Hasell-McCosh of Dalemain Mansion and Historic Gardens; Jess Goodwin of Hindwell Farm Holidays; Jean Norgate of Old Cumbria Gazetteer; Becks Skinner of Keswick Museum; Emily Heath of Rydal Mount and Gardens; the Wordsworth family (who granted permission to use the 1833 Crosthwaite portrait of Dorothy Wordsworth); Andrew Locking (see his website, Andrew’s Walks); Stephen Bunting (Summit & Camp blog); Mark McClellan (Mark's blog), and Andrew Wright.  

Finally, we are indebted to Dorothy Wordsworth’s previous editors, particularly Ernest De Sélincourt, Mary Moorman, Pamela Woof, and Susan Levin. Their foundational work has paved the way for this edition and done an invaluable service in bringing Wordsworth’s writing to academic and public audiences.  

Dorothy Wordsworth's Lake District by Michelle Levy, Nicholas Mason, Paul Westover, Romantic Circles, and the University of Colorado is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0