Thoreau and Walden Pond

Thoreau and Walden Pond

If you’re anywhere in the vicinity of campus, you are not so very far from Walden Pond and the many haunts of the New England transcendentalists. Thoreau in particular is in the limelight this year, as it is the bicentennial anniversary of his birth.

Concord, MA is where most of the movement was centered, the “biggest little place in America,” so Henry James once said. Concord is worth wandering for all manner of reasons, but I wanted to highlight the bicentennial events in case anyone wants to explore Thoreau in more detail this year.

There is, of course, Walden Pond. Its a state park these days, with hiking trails and swimming allowed, along with the requisite guided tours. You can check out more info on the Pond here.

The main event is probably the Concord Museum, one of the main locations to find all things Thoreau. They have several exhibits this year on Thoreau, and they’ve got an event for Thoreau’s birthday (July 12th, just around the corner!). The Museum also has exhibits on the other notable events and residents of Concord, and online exhibits as well for those farther afield.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t link to this article in the Paris Review. I must confess, I didn’t remember that this was the bicentennial on my own. The article popped up in my RSS feed, but I’m glad I did. Its an interesting read, whether you are a fan of Thoreau or not.

Shakespeare 400 and the First Folio

Shakespeare 400 and the First Folio

Forgive the silence of the last week; even I cannot find away to make reorganizing spreadsheets sound fun. Because Excel doesn’t have a native functionality for sorting by call number, it is up to us to sort the sheets for the shelf read. It’s just as charming and delightful as you might imagine.

But! I return with a quick review of “First Folio! The Book that Gave us Shakespeare” We went last Saturday but I decided to hold the write up until today, to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. For those in New Hampshire (or really anywhere in the Boston area), the place to go is the Currier Museum of Art. The Currier is a great little museum on its own, and New Hampshire residents get in free on Saturday mornings until noon.

When you first enter the museum, the exhibit is to your left (there’s plenty of signage). The Currier is also running an exhibit through their library on potion books from the time of Shakespeare, and that is signed as well.

So I freely admit that I could have elbowed people out of the way to take a picture of the folio, but I didn’t. I thought it was more important to read the exhibit, to actually read the folio, and to explain it to my son. What surprised me was how small it is; the fact is that this volume represents the first time that 18 of Shakespeare’s play appeared in print, but its not that big a book.I grant you, its bigger then a book you’d take on an airplane, but it can be easy to forget that the publisher at the time was just concerned with putting out a book, not a historical artifact. Its immensely cool, nonetheless and well worth a trip.

The Currier’s installation is in their European art wing, so we wandered through those pieces as well:

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Most of the art in there can’t have photos taken, so I only snagged two of the medieval pieces, but they’re quite lovely. The Folio is up until May, but the Potion exhibit the library is running will be up a little longer, and you want to make sure not to miss it either:

 

The exhibit is made up of medical texts and herbologies from the time of Shakespeare. Its also less crowded then the Folio room so you can spend more time looking things over without feeling guilty that you’re blocking others.

You can find a great deal of information on what is out there for celebrating Shakespeare; a quick search of Twitter for #Shakespeare400 will do the trick. For the locals, consider checking out St. Anselm’s marathon reading of all of Shakespeare’s sonnets, which takes place Monday.