English 100

The Seminar on Criticism: Approaching Walden

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2022 Tamarkin, Elisa
TTh 3:30-5 Wheeler 122


Our seminar will take up Thoreau’s challenge to read Walden as deliberately as it was written.  We will work through the book slowly over the course of the semester, while learning how best to approach it, and the environment in which it was written, at different moments and in response to changing questions, problems, and needs.  We will treat Walden as a guide to reading Walden, teaching us how to be attentive, to notice things we normally miss, and to keep something as long and slow as Thoreau’s book can be interesting to us, “a fresh prospect every hour.”  Along the way, we’ll assume a range of critical, historical, political, and theoretical perspectives that require engagement with Ralph Waldo Emerson, with other Transcendentalists and some anti-Transcendentalists, and with diverse traditions of philosophical and poetic writings that consider Walden to be important.

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