Book cover for Henry David Thoreau: Thinking Disobediently

Henry David Thoreau: Thinking Disobediently

Lawrence Buell in conversation with Megan Marshall

Thursday, October 12, 2023, at 7:00 pm ET

Approximately 60 minutes. This hybrid program will be held in person at Antiquarian Hall and livestreamed to a virtual audience on YouTube. Advance registration is required for both. Doors open at 6:30pm.

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From his day to ours, Henry David Thoreau has provoked sharply opposite reactions, ranging from reverence to dismissal. Scholars have regularly offered conflicting assessments of the significance of his work, the evolution of his thought, even the facts of his life. Some disagreements are in the eye of the beholder, but many follow from challenges posed by his own cross-grained idiosyncrasies. Thoreau was a leading figure in the American Transcendentalist movement and was an advocate for self-reliance who never broke away from home, a self-professed mystic now also acclaimed as a pioneer life-scientist, and a seminal theorist of nonviolent protest who defended the most notorious guerilla fighter of his day. Join us as author Lawrence Buell explores the thought and impact of this iconic, but highly controversial figure. Following Professor Buell's presentation, author Megan Marshall will join the discussion on Thoreau's life and will open the conversation to audience questions.

Lawrence BuellLawrence Buell is Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature Emeritus at Harvard University. His previous books include Literary Transcendentalism, New England Literary Culture, The Environmental Imagination, and Emerson. Among other prizes and awards, he received the Christian Gauss Award for Emerson and the Modern Language Association’s Jay Hubbell Award for lifetime contributions to American Literature studies. He was elected to AAS membership in October, 1991.

Megan MarshallMegan Marshall is the author of three biographical works, Margaret Fuller: A New American Life, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Biography and the Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction; The Peabody Sisters, winner of the Francis Parkman Prize, the Mark Lynton History Prize, the Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography; and Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast, a finalist for the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Christian Gauss Prize in Literary Criticism. She is a past president of the Society of American Historians and the recipient of the 2022 Biographers International Organization (BIO) Award for contributions to the art and craft of biography. She is the Charles Wesley Emerson College Professor at Emerson College where she teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program. She was elected to AAS membership in 2014. Photo credit: Corinne Elicone.

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