Thoreau’s Walden: Four Contemporary Writers on its Enduring Relevance

Oct. 27, 2021

Authors Kristen Case, Gerald Early, Pico Iyer, and Megan Marshall in conversation with Karla Nielsen, Curator of Literary Collections at The Huntington

Spring 2020 and the onset of a global pandemic saw many writers returning to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden for guidance for living in a constricted space and with a reduced footprint. Beginning on July 4, 1845, Thoreau moved into a cabin on Walden Pond for two years, two months, and two days. He chronicled the experience, first in his diary and later in a long essay: Walden, or Life in the Woods which was published in 1854.

Now Comes Good Sailing, a volume of essays edited by Andrew Blauner, coming out from Princeton University Press in October 2021, explores the ongoing resonance of Thoreau's groundbreaking work of observation and reflection. The volume takes its title from the last four words that Thoreau wrote in his diary.

Four of the contributors to the volume join us in conversation for this Shapiro Center event moderated by Karla Nielsen, Curator of Literary Collections at The Huntington. Dr. Nielsen will also show images of The Huntington's seven drafts of Walden.

 

Recent Videos and Recorded Programs

calligraphy by Xu Wei
Lecture
Drinking and Scribbling in the Garden: Xu Wei's Wild Cursive Calligraphy
Nov. 18, 2021

Peter Sturman, professor of art history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, discusses the artistic polymath Xu Wei (1521–1593) and his uninhibited style of calligraphy, known as kuangcao, or "wild cursive." Sturman introduces Xu's calligraphy—particularly, three scrolls that...

 
Artist Kehinde Wiley at podium
Video
Kehinde Wiley: “A Portrait of a Young Gentleman” Artist Remarks
Nov. 2, 2021

The Huntington celebrated American artist Kehinde Wiley with a reception in honor of his painting A Portrait of a Young Gentleman, commissioned by The Huntington as a contemporary response to Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy.

 
Chinese Garden
Video
Reading the Lotus: A Garden of Words
Nov. 1, 2021

Wang Shixiang 王世襄 was 93 years old when he created the inscription “Love for the Lotus Pavilion” for The Huntington. The original handscroll is currently on view as part of the exhibition “A Garden of Words: The Calligraphy of Liu Fang Yuan...

 

Search Videos and Recorded Programs