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Great Lives: The Transcendentalists
March 9, 2023 @ 7:30 pm
The Dovetail Cultural Resource Group Lecture
Why Concord, a small town of some 2,000 souls in 1830, devoted to farming, crafts, and commerce? This lecture will explore how Emerson, a Bostonian with family roots in Concord, and Thoreau, the only native son in the Concord group, drew on observations and experiences of the local scene to inform, inspire, and illustrate their novel ways of seeing and interpreting American life. Their joint biographies reveal the challenges facing individuals in a rapidly changing society. Seeking for new ways to comprehend the relation between individual and community, the Concord Transcendentalists articulated a fresh ideal of the self, in harmony with nature, on which a characteristically American philosophy of individualism, democratic and egalitarian, could be based. Thanks to the power of their writing, the “America” of Emerson’s essays and Thoreau’s Walden became Concord writ large.