Well Versed in Business

Article excerpt

Scholar offers entrepreneurs insights inspired by Wordsworth's poetry. Matthew Reisz reports.

It may sound like a nice day out in beautiful surroundings, but can walking around Lake District sites synonymous with Romantic poet William Wordsworth really offer business leaders and local entrepreneurs the crucial insights they need?

That is precisely the claim of Wordsworth expert Simon Bainbridge, professor of Romantic studies at Lancaster University, who believes the writer can be viewed as a "management guru" for the 21st century.

Since 2007, the scholar has taken students down into caves and out on canoes to the island on Grasmere once visited by Wordsworth and fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and to places where many of the former's greatest works were written, for what he called "practical exercises linked to the themes of Wordsworth's poetry".

Such walks, which also have been incorporated into development days for individual firms, are now being offered as a stand-alone option for local and social entrepreneurs at a subsidised rate of Pounds 175 a day.

Professor Bainbridge acknowledged that the poet was rather different from most modern executives, not least in being able to rely on income from his inheritance.

He also challenged the myth of "the lone Romantic poet", partly created by Wordsworth himself, pointing to the importance of collaborators such as Wordsworth's sister Dorothy and Coleridge. …