William Johnson

Thoreau: Wilderness and the Wild

Thoreau: Wilderness and the Wild This talk weaves together biography, ecology and aesthetics toward a better understanding of Thoreau’s wilderness thought and art. It begins with an overview of Thoreau’s life (as writer, observer, handyman, walker, and surveyor) as it moves between civilization and nature, and in turn presents selections from his writing that show how nature comes alive and takes on meaning in his art. Thoreau prods us to explore our own experience of nature, in both critical and creative ways. The talk concludes by suggesting how Thoreau’s insights on “the wild” shed light on current discussion and debate about wilderness. Johnson encourages the audience to begin a dialogue on wilderness and the wild, so Thoreau’s insights can be taken back into everyday lives.