February 15, 2014

More ambitious

My personal challenge of reading more, even two books at once, continues. I've started Leaves of Grass, and I'm continuing Daniel Deronda. But to make the mix a little more intense I'll be starting the MOOC Every Atom at The Writing University at the University of Iowa next week—two video lectures and an on-line discussion per week for the next six weeks. I caught wind of the opportunity a while ago and checked in yesterday and was both surprised and pleased to see there there are more than 1400 registrants from around the world.

I'm impressed with the detailed readings of Whitman's poetry in the course materials, and they've already got me thinking about visiting some Emerson and Thoreau again. This from Thoreau, Life Without Principle.

We rarely meet a man who can tell us any news which he has not read in a newspaper, or been told by his neighbor; and, for the most part, the only difference between us and our fellow is, that he has seen the newspaper, or been out to tea, and we have not. In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post-office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters, proud of his extensive correspondence, has not heard from himself this long while.

There's no telling where my interests might lead me if this works out well. I'm already thinking about Neruda and Borges besides Emerson and Thoreau.