About this Edition

2nd Edition (2020)

Since this Romantic Circles edition of William Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes first appeared in July 2015, our ongoing research has yielded enough new discoveries and insights about the text’s complex origins, publication history, and afterlives as to necessitate, in our minds, a revised second edition. While several resources remain largely unchanged—notably our fully annotated, illustrated text of the 1835 edition and the bibliographic, cartographic, and textual tools for studying the Guide—we have significantly reworked, extended, and, in some cases, corrected our earlier account of the essay’s origins, composition, and initial publication. The most significant changes to the critical apparatus come in our introduction, which incorporates several important findings, and a new appendix offering the most detailed study to date of the serial publication of Select Views. We have also added a new section featuring high-resolution scans of Wordsworth’s 1810 letterpress and silently corrected minor transcription and labeling errors in our earlier edition.

1st Edition (2015)

First published in 1810 and repeatedly revised by its author over the ensuing 25 years, Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes has long been considered a crucial text for scholars of Romantic-era aesthetics, ecology, travel writing, and tourism. Though the fifth edition of 1835 (the last revised by Wordsworth) has remained available in reprints and scholarly editions, earlier editions of the Guide continue to be scarce. This is particularly true of the original 1810 version, which appeared as an anonymous prose supplement to a set of Lake District sketches by the Rev. Joseph Wilkinson.

This new digital edition therefore aims to provide scholars, students, and general readers easy and open access to key editions of the Guide from Wordsworth’s lifetime, including full scans of Wilkinson’s 1810 sketches and Wordsworth’s 1810 and 1835 texts. Accompanying these primary works is an extensive scholarly apparatus, including a historical and textual introduction to the Guide; detailed hypertext notes on Wordsworth’s essay; an annotated bibliography of previous scholarly editions and criticism on the Guide; and excerpts from letters by Wordsworth and his circle addressing the work’s production, reception, and revision.

Taking advantage of digital technologies, we have also included a parallel-text chart tracking Wordsworth’s sequential revisions over five editions between 1810 and 1835; dozens of maps, engravings, and photographs of the Lakes; and a geo-tracking feature that allows readers to pinpoint locations discussed in the Guide with the click of a mouse. All told, then, this site combines the traditional features of a serious scholarly edition with digital tools that offer a fresh, and hopefully fuller, experience with one of Wordsworth’s most illuminating, challenging, and compelling works.

About the Editors


Nicholas Mason is Professor of English at Brigham Young University, editor of the NeuRoN index at Romanticism on the Net, and head of the Book History Caucus of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism. His publications include Literary Advertising and the Shaping of British Romanticism (Johns Hopkins UP, 2013) and several scholarly editions dedicated to Romantic-era literature and culture.

Paul Westover is Associate Professor of English at Brigham Young University. A specialist in Romantic-era literary tourism, he is the author of Necromanticism: Traveling to Meet the Dead, 1750–1860 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and editor (with Ann Weirda Rowland) of Transatlantic Literature and Author Love in the Nineteenth Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Shannon Stimpson is a PhD candidate in English at The Pennsylvania State University. The research she completed on Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes for Honors and MA theses at Brigham Young University became the genesis of this project. Her current research focuses on institutional historiography, writing program administration, multimodal writing, and feminist pedagogy.

Contributing Editors

Billy Hall is Assistant Professor of English at Brigham Young University. A specialist in eighteenth-century British literature and the digital humanities, he is currently completing projects exploring the intersection of poetry, aesthetics, and technology both in and beyond the long eighteenth century.

Jarom McDonald is Vice President for Research and Innovation at VidAngel. He helped build this edition’s GIS features while in his previous position as Associate Research Professor and Director of the Office of Digital Humanities at Brigham Young University.

About the Design and Markup

This second edition (2019) was TEI-encoded by Romantic Circles technical editor David Rettenmaier and site managers Cayla Eagon and T. J. McLemore. Jessica Tebo redesigned and migrated the volume over to the newest RC site in 2024. For the first edition (2015), TEI encoding was completed by Billy Hall and formatting and design by David Rettenmaier in consultation with Laura Mandell. The banner image for this volume is a hand-colored print of Joseph Wilkinson's “Vale of the Lune” from Select Views in Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancashire (1810), reproduced courtesy of the Wordsworth Trust.


Numerous students, colleagues, Wordsworth scholars, and enthusiasts have lent their time, talents, and expertise to this edition. Emily Young and Rachel Wise, who were then remarkable BYU undergraduates, helped launch our research and transcriptions in 2011 and 2012. At Romantic Circles, Dave Rettenmaier has provided technical expertise and design savvy from the beginning; Tilar Mazzeo shepherded our 2015 edition from proposal to release; Michele Speitz spearheaded the publication of this 2019 version; and Neil Fraistat, Steven Jones, Orrin Wang, and Paul Youngquist have offered unwavering support at the executive level.

At our home campus, BYU, the English Department, Office of Digital Humanities, and Center for the Study of Europe provided generous financial support for research and travel, and a university Mentoring Environment Grant allowed us to hire student collaborators and take them on a week-long research trip to the Lake District.

For years of enthusiastic support and expert responses to obscure queries, special gratitude is in order for Jeff Cowton, MBE, head curator at the Wordsworth Trust. Dating to a memorable afternoon in the Jerwood Centre during the spring of 2011, Jeff’s generosity has not only yielded more authoritative editions but also institutional partnerships that have enriched hundreds of lives at BYU. Warm thanks also to the Wordsworth Trust’s assistant curators, Rebecca Turner and Melissa Mitchell, for cheerful, timely assistance with countless queries sent from Provo to Grasmere over the better part of a decade.

Others who have been especially generous with their time, resources, and expertise include Ed Vermue, special collections and preservation librarian of the Oberlin College Library, who provided the high-resolution scan of Smith’s New and Accurate Map of the Lakes (1800); Maggie Kopp and Russ Taylor, special collections librarians at BYU who facilitated access to early editions of the Guide and many other key resources; Joel Silver of the Lilly Library at Indiana University, who supplied high-resolution scans of the 1810 Select Views; Patrick Vincent of the University of Neuchâtel and Bernhard Jenny of Oregon State University, who helped us along the trail of the Pfyffer terrain relief; Mark L. Reed, emeritus professor of English from the University of North Carolina, whose generosity, unrivalled knowledge, and bibliographic expertise saved us from countless potential errors; Elisabeth Fairman, chief curator of rare books and manuscripts at the Yale Center for British Art, who spent an afternoon helping us study the FitzRoy copy of Select Views; James Baker, Matthew Crowther, and, especially, John Ford, who generously offered their published and unpublished research on and vast knowledge of Rudolph Ackermann; Sarah Barlow, a BYU student who voluntarily assisted with illustrations and permissions; John Talbot, our departmental colleague and resident Latinist; Jean-Robert Durbin of the Huntington Library’s Rare Book Department; John Mustain, rare books librarian at Stanford University; Emma Darbyshire of the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge; and Kaitlyn Krieg of the Morgan Library and Museum.

While many of the photographs in this edition are our own, several others come from the public domain, including photos by David Benbennick, Tony Bennett, Nigel Chadwick, Lee Coward, Stephen Dawson, Raminus Falcon, George Ford, Eleanor Graham, Michael Graham, Roger Griffith, Francis Hannaway, Gordon Hatton, Geoff Hill, Stephen Horncastle, Les Hull, Mick Knapton, Simon Ledingham, Martin McCarthy, Tom Oates, Simon Rumble, Chrys Rynearson, John Salmon, Iain West, and Mick Wragg. We are especially indebted to professional photographers who granted permission to use their work and to other scholars, collectors, curators, and website owners who provided materials. The following have kindly permitted us to reproduce images: Wayne Brittle (waynebrittlephotography.com), BYU Harold B. Lee Library, Eagle Intermedia Publishing (Roger W. Poultney, yorkshire-dales.com), Indiana University’s Lilly Library (Breon Mitchell, Joel B. Silver, and David K. Frasier), Jan Fialkowski, Richard Fox and Alan Pratt (Jervaulxabbey.com), Getty Research Institute (Tracy Schuster), Gletschergarten Museum (Andreas Burri and Robert Wicki), Lake District National Park Authority (Helen Reynolds, Lakedistrict.gov.uk), Andrew Leaney (leaney.org), Simon Ledingham, Tina Mahoney (English-lakes.com), Sean McMahon (StridingEdge.net), Stephen Middlemiss, Jean and Martin Norgate  (Old Cumbria Gazetteer), Oberlin College Library (Ed Vermue), Rob Shephard (Helvellyn Consulting), Tate Britain (George Koutsoudopoulos), Julian Thurgood (Visitcumbria.com), David M. Turner (Wold Ranger Photography), The Victoria and Albert Museum, Jan Wiltshire (cumbrianaturally.co.uk), and the Wordsworth Trust.