Transcendental Parlor Talks: Scholar Thomas Blanding to speak on Thoreau in Bedford

Submitted by First Parish in Bedford

Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau  –  Image (c) SOL Design, Sydney, Australia

In the Transcendentalist tradition, Thoreau scholar Thomas Blanding of Acton, past president of the Thoreau Society and past-president of the Thoreau Country Conservation Alliance, will offer a series of “Parlor Talks” on the life and writings of Henry D. Thoreau beginning on Sunday, April 7.

Sessions will be held on six Sundays, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm, at the First Parish in Bedford, Unitarian Universalist, 75 The Great Road, Bedford Center.  Each session consists of a 50-minute talk, a 20-minute refreshment break, and a 50-minute discussion.

The subject for each of the talks will be:

  •  April 7 ~ Thoreau in Bedford
  • April 21 ~ Emerson’s eulogy, “Thoreau,” in the Atlantic Monthly (August 1862)
  • May 5 ~ Thoreau on Women’s Enjoyment of Nature
  • May 19 ~ Thoreau and New England Clergymen
  • June 2 ~ Thoreau’s Antislavery Address, “A Plea for Captain John Brown”
  • June 16 ~ Thoreau’s Cats (His Favorite Animal)

Participants may sign up for individual sessions at $20 each, or they may take the whole series for $100.  For information call 978 369 1684 or email tomblanding@gmail.com.

More about Tom Blanding

Tom Blanding is an Independent Scholar of New England Transcendentalism, specializing in the life and writings of Henry D. Thoreau. For three decades Blanding has held seminars and parlor talks on these and related topics in Concord and neighboring towns. He is a popular and entertaining speaker, having given hundreds of talks at colleges, clubs, and other organizations, including Harvard University, the Modern Language Association, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Since his undergraduate days in the 1960s Blanding has been a celebrated literary detective, tracking down many previously unknown manuscripts, diaries, letters, and other documents relating to Thoreau, Concord, and the Transcendentalists. (For example, he discovered Louisa May Alcott’s lost Fruitlands diary in a New Hampshire farmhouse.) Blanding has published countless articles in his field and is the author of Historic Walden Woods and the co-author of A Thoreau Iconography.  For eight years he was an editor and Executive Board member for the multi-volume Writings of Henry D. Thoreau, published by Princeton University Press.

Blanding is a past-president of the Thoreau Society and the founder and past-president of the Thoreau Country Conservation Alliance. In the mid-1980s he re-created the lost concept of Walden Woods, an area extending well beyond the bounds of the Walden Pond State Reservation, and successfully applied Thoreau’s ideas about social justice and the power of symbolic places to bring the threat of huge developments in Walden Woods to national attention.

He is now writing a biography emphasizing Thoreau’s spiritual life, and editing a collection of letters by, to, and about the Thoreau family for on-line publication.


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