May 22, 2022  
Catalogue 2021-2022 
Catalogue 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ENST 302 - The Blegen Seminar

Semester Offered: Spring
1 unit(s)
(Same as GRST 302 )  Topic for 2021/22b: ‘As if Nature spoke:’ Thoreau, Ancient Greek Literature, and American Nature Writing. When Henry David Thoreau went to Walden Pond to ‘live deliberately,’ he took just one book with him: Homer’s Iliad. Why was this ancient war epic his literary companion in the experiment and experience that is now, through Thoreau’s own writings, a cornerstone of American thought on our relationship to the natural world? In addressing this question our seminar will range well beyond Homer and Walden, examining how Greek poetry informed Romantic emphasis on the value of ‘Nature’ in the early 19th century, also shaping Thoreau’s early writings and in particular his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. Ideas found in both Romanticism and Thoreau – that human beings in modernity are out of step with the natural world, and that we could live better if we were closer to it – continue to hold sway in our own cultural imagination. This makes it perfectly appropriate to ask whether and how Greek literature shapes our thinking about current ecological crises, as well as what else these ancient texts might contribute to imagining a future that values humanity and ecology together. Luke Parker.

Two 75-minute periods.

Course Format: CLS

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