When Daniel Defoe rode through the Lake District in the early 18th century, he described the area as ‘the wildest, most barren and frightful of any that I have passed over in England.’ But for Victorians such as Matthew Arnold and John Ruskin, the Lakes offered a landscape of supreme beauty. How did this change come about?
Jonathan Bate will follow in the footsteps of the 18th-century inventors of the ‘picturesque’ and show how Wordsworth shaped the vision of his native region, leading to the foundation of the National Trust and the idea of a National Park.
Professor Bate is Gresham Professor of Rhetoric. He is a British academic, biographer, critic, broadcaster, novelist and scholar. He specialises in Shakespeare, Romanticism and Ecocriticism. He is Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford, Provost of Worcester College, Oxford, and Honorary Fellow of Creativity at Warwick Business School.
All of Professor Bate's Gresham lectures can be accessed here.