Concord, MassachusettsTwo weeks of talks, readings, and discussions celebrating the written and the spoken word.
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Laura Dassow Walls
Events: A Whole Human Life
Book: Henry David Thoreau: A Whole Human Life
Laura Dassow Walls is a professor at the University of Notre Dame working in the transdisciplinary field of literature and science, with a focus on the nineteenth century. While her work is based in American literature, centered particularly in Thoreau, Emerson, and American Transcendentalism more generally, she seeks to understand these authors in both transdisciplinary and cosmopolitical contexts, leading to a continuing interest in both British and German writers, philosophers, and scientists.
Her interest in reweaving science, literature, and culture in cosmopolitical contexts has led her most recently back to the writings and career of Thoreau. Her new biography of Thoreau, Henry David Thoreau: A Whole Human Life is to be published by the University of Chicago Press in March 2017. In this biography, she rethinks Thoreau’s life based on a thorough reading of the original sources (letters, journals, writings—including many still unpublished) of Thoreau and his circle. The result is a view of Thoreau as one who attempted to live what, in his own words would be “a whole human life.” What that meant for him, and what it might mean for us today, is the major theme of the biography.