The Transcendentalists: Secret Life of Louisa May Alcott

The Transcendentalists: exploring a New England School of Thought

The Life and Times of Louisa May Alcott

Tuesday, 3/10/20, 2:00 pm

Louisa May Alcott (1832 – 1888) is most famous for “Little Women,” a novel that shaped the way many women since the Victorian era have defined girlhood and family. Louisa was also a Civil War nurse, an avid supporter of women’s suffrage, and, through her writing, the sole breadwinner for her family. This presentation reveals her fascinating path to fame as an author and the role of Emerson, Thoreau, Bronson  Alcott and other great transcendentalists in her life

Ruth W. Crocker is the author of The Secret Life of Louisa May Alcott, a one-act play based on the writings, diaries and journal entries of Ms Alcott. Ruth has a special  interest in women writers of the nineteenth century. Her essays and  nonfiction articles have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Grace Magazine,  O-Dark-Thirty, T.A.P.S. Magazine, Bennington Review,   PersimmonTree, The Saturday Evening Post, Redux and several trade magazines. Her memoir, Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War,  received the Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal for nonfiction, and her book People of  Yellowstone, received the Foreword Review Book of the Year Award in 2017. She holds a PhD from the University of Connecticut, and an MFA in Creative writing from Bennington College. She lives in   Mystic, Connecticut.

 

Transcendentalists in Utopia

The Transcendentalists: exploring a New England School of Thought

Transcendentalists in Utopia

Please read in The Dial (the only Transcendentalist literary journal). After dissolving into the ether with Emerson in our first lecture, we will move on to    consider a set of writers and reformers who make Emerson seem downright practical. Among those men were Bronson Alcott and George Ripley both of whom believed that they could reform humanity and change the world. As we look at Transcendentalism in the 1840s, we will also discuss the skeptical    perspectives of writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville and speculate on the reasons that Transcendentalism continues to exert such a  powerful influence on the national imagination.

The Dial is available on Google Books. Please read Vol I (“Orphic Sayings”) Vol II (“Plan of the West Roxbury Community”) These articles are also linked at the end of this calendar entry.

Lecture will be led by Bryan Sinche, Chair, Department of English and Modern Languages; Associate Professor of English, University of Hartford; and William  Major Professor of  English, Hillyer  College.

(snow date: Thursday, 3/5/20, 6:30 pm)

_The Dial_ (1)

ORPHIC SAYINGS (1840) (1)

Nature’s Importance

The Transcendentalists: exploring a New England School of Thought

Nature’s Importance

Please read the book that started it all, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature, published in 1836. Nature’s importance as the founding text of Transcendentalism cannot be overstated, though many have tried. We will discuss a  variety of Emersonian concepts, such as the relationship between mind and matter, the burdens of history, and the importance of  revelation. We may also inquire as to whether Emerson was just a really smart windbag. In addition, we will consider the ideas of one of Emerson’s disciples—Henry David Thoreau—and ask whether and how the author of Walden embodied transcendental ideas. To that end, participants may want to read the first two chapters of Walden, “Economy” and “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For.”

Copies of Nature can be found at the reference desk at the Avon Library.

Both lectures will be led by Bryan Sinche, Chair, Department of English and Modern Languages; Associate Professor of English, University of Hartford; and William  Major Professor of  English, Hillyer  College.

 

snow date: Thursday, 2/27/20, 6:30 pm)