Forgive me for the brevity of this posting. I am presenting my paper on Wordsworth and Wallace Stevens on Monday, so that preparation is my primary focus for the weekend. Nevertheless, I wanted to write a brief update on my recent adventures here at Grasmere.
After six days in the Lake District, I can see why Dorothy Wordsworth (supposedly) went a bit bonkers and fell in love with her brother, William. This place is beautiful but also mind numbingly boring. I have completed the village circuit several times now; there is a hiking store that sells a variety of nubby socks, a confectionery that boasts (hold your horses, everybody) three different kinds of toffee, and a pub that sells its last drink at 8:45. Yabba dabba doo! I guess the Wordsworth scholars won’t be staying out into the wee hours, dribbling into mixed drinks and giggling about Justin Bieber. No matter: the conference has kept everyone very busy the past few days. I’m fascinated by every one of the lectures; I have been attending seven or eight a day! One of my favorite scholars is Richard Brantley, an Emily Dickinson specialist from the University of Florida. Professor Brantley, like an Otis Redding ballad or an Arthur Dove painting, seems wholly and completely American to me–a Budweiser raised up to toast a bitter British Lager. “The brain is wider than the sky,” he said in a recent conversation, quoting Dickinson in his Georgian drawl. I’ll have to remember the wise words of the Belle of Amherst as I prepare for my presentation on Monday afternoon.