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Lecture 8

ENGL 40761 Lecture 8: American Culture as Collage 2-14-17 class notes walden 5

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ENGL 40761
Fredman Stephen

Walden – The End – 2/14/17 More or less annoyed by Thoreau now that we are done? • Consensus – slightly less annoyed. • The structure was particularly important to him in publication Depth of Walden • 102 to 107ft. deep over the course of his stay – as a surveyor, he was very serious about measuring • Desire for a bottom to Walden Pond? o Yes. It appears that Thoreau wants the Pond to have a bottom. Address to his perception of the Pond as self-contained ▪ Thankful for its purity and depth because if shallow, it would “reflect men” o Gaia hypothesis – that the Earth itself is a kind of living being o Development: 1. Rumor of bottomlessness; 2. Fact becomes bottomless when obtained ▪ Charles Olson – demands to dig so deeply into something that you are the premier knower of this slice of fact • I.e. his 500+ page epic poem on Gloucester, MA o Using it to discuss how human events and nature work ▪ Challenging of “experts” as not having a truly functional knowledge o Walden itself as an example (for Thoreau) of himself – that the Pond represents our own being ▪ “Take matters into your own hands – discover the depth of your ‘pond’” Spring, and what of the Sand Bank • Sand Bank – a cut that was produced in lieu of the railroad that revealed the geology of the hillside o Seeing – the “middle rung” – he sees the sand bank as a fusion of fluid dynamic processes and biological rooting ▪ The internal workings of the earth revealed almost as a dissection of the Gaia-Earth
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