Calendar Re-arranged (and happy election day!)

Hi everyone —
Well, the verdict came in that it was better for a majority in this seminar to tinker with the calendar, and work with two-week chunks of reading / blogging, rather than new material every work. I hope this might prompt some more blogging entries, especially from folks who’ve yet to contribute. Thanks to all who have done so, thus so far: it’s been a great conversation.

The new condensed readings are up for weeks 5 & 6. A minilecture intro. to Emerson, why and how he is important for the history of American environmentalism, and the ways in which he critically telegraphed Swedenborgian thought, is forthcoming, as well as a new discussion forum for folks to engage with. In the meantime, you can start with the Albanese and excerpts from Emerson’s challenging “Nature” essay. (and until the minilecture goes live, for all you die-hard Emersonians, I’ve linked in a little nifty documentary about his life and legacy).

We will talk a bit about Emerson and the Transcendentalists during our weekly virtual seminar tomorrow (provided we all get through election day!), and weave in some of the wonderful reflections all of you have left on the last two week’s page pertaining to gardens.

I look forward to seeing some of you during the “skype in” tomorrow, or reading your words on the blog otherwise….

3 responses to “Calendar Re-arranged (and happy election day!)

  1. Looking forward to this afternoon’s Videoconference, although I will probably not have time for reading before then. I have been reading the 1950 biography “The Peabody Sisters of Salem” and just read that when Sophia Peabody married Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emerson sent Thoreau over to set up a garden for them (Thoreau had been doing the gardening at the Emersons’.) I will be interested to see whether Thoreau has anything to say about garden vs. wilderness.

  2. Wow, Helen. All those fabulous NAMES! Devin, the longer this process lasts the better I like it. Looking forward to “seeing” everybody who can make it this afternoon!

  3. Helen, don’t know that book, but will have to check it out. Sophia’s older sister Elizabeth was pretty well versed in Swedenborg — it was Elizabeth who translated the French Swedenborgian text by Guillame Oegger for Emerson (into English), a work that impressed itself forcefully. I read something somewhere about their parents becoming interested in Swedenborg in the 1820’s. Yes, Thoreau has a LOT to say about the wild vs. the idea of nature as a tended garden. A good place to start is his wonderful essay on “Walking,” which has the iconic lines about how “in wilderness we find the preservation of the world.” It’s a clarion call (answered most forcefully by J. Muir later on) not only for the physical preservation of wilderness locales, but a smart attempt to “wild” things at home, closer at hand, and redefine our sense of what it means to be civilized (as something somehow oppositional to wilderness) – thoreau is trying to undo this binary.

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