Thoreau was kind of a dick. Actually, more than "kind of." He was, in fact, a huge, total dick. (OK, he was a strident and powerful abolitionist. But somehow he managed to be a dick about that too.) [more inside]
In literature, there are two key sorts of annotations: marginalia, or the notes jotted down in the margins by the reader, and additional information formally provided in expanded editions of a text, and you can find a bit of both online. Annotated Books Online is an on-line interactive archive of early modern annotated books, where researchers can share digitized documents and collaborate on translations. For insight into a single author's notes, Melville's Marginalia provides just that. For annotations with additional information, The Thoreau Reader provides context for Walden (linked previously), The Maine Woods, and other writings. Then there's the mostly annotated edition Ulysses, analysis of Joseph Conrad's Nostromo, and the thoroughly annotated US constitution (twentieth amendment linked previously). More marginalia and annotations inside. [more inside]
On this day in 1844, Henry David Thoreau burned down a forest.
Walking Home From Walden is a 5 part series by Wen Stephenson describing how a middle-aged resident of Wayland, MA got advice from Henry David Thoreau about responding to global warming while living in suburbia, by taking a 12 mile hike.
Alone In The Wilderness "Documentary tells the story of Dick Proenneke who, in the late 1960s, built his own cabin in the wilderness at the base of the Aleutian Peninsula, in what is now Lake Clark National Park. Using color footage he shot himself, Proenneke traces how he came to this remote area, selected a homestead site and built his log cabin completely by himself. The documentary covers his first year in-country, showing his day-to-day activities and the passing of the seasons as he sought to scratch out a living alone in the wilderness." (Color, 57mins)
Bill Viola's video game, The Night Journey, is inspired by "the lives and writings of great historical figures including: Rumi, the 13th century Islamic poet and mystic; Ryokan, the 18th century Zen Buddhist poet; St. John of the Cross, the 16th century Spanish mystic and poet; and Plotinus, the 3rd century philosopher" and "attempts to evoke in the player's mind a sense of the archetypal journey of enlightenment through the "mechanics" of the game experience". [more inside]
"We want to be in clean country with like-minded people with access to clean food. . . . The question is, Do I have Internet access in the woods?" The New York Times has the story of an Austin family that has decided to give away almost all of their worldly possessions in exchange for a simpler more sustainable life. Could you do it? [more inside]
We've discussed David L. Cunningham before, especially the controversial 9/11 docudrama he made. But there's more to the man who's the son of Christian reconstructionist and University of the Nations founder Loren Cunningham. There are a lot of movies he claims to have directed on his IMDB page that don't have any external verification outside of self-published websites, which seems to contradict IMDB policy. Then there's the fear from both pagans and various political bloggers and fans of the books that his upcoming adaptation of the The Dark is Rising fantasy books is going to completely butcher the source material. The movie is produced by Walden Media, the production company owned by conservative christian billionaire Philip Anschutz, who's trying to "clean up Hollywood", in association with 20th Century Fox.
"Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry." Thoreau was arguably the start of the Simplicity Movement, a loose, world-wide network dedicated to removing the extraneous from our lives. Difficult to concisely quantify because of its deep vision and many methodologies, the common thread is the reclaiming of our lives from technology, the mainstream, and the economic cycle.