Category: transcendentalism


Norway and Emerson!

If you enjoy what you read here at Interminable Rambling, think about making a contribution on our Patreon page.  While I ultimately see Ralph Waldo Emerson’s and the transcendentalists’ ideas as pretty little bubbles devoid of any substance, I enjoy reading Emerson’s thoughts on nature, beauty, and perception. Being in Norway this year, Emerson’s words keep coming back to me almost everyday as I … Read More Norway and Emerson!


The Canary in Davis’ “Life in the Iron Mills”

When I taught Rebecca Harding Davis’ Life in the Iron Mills (1861) this semester, I asked students to think about the opening paragraphs where the narrator describes the scene and implores the reader to come right down with her “into the thickest of the fog and mud and foul effluvia.” The opening images bring to mind Gothic texts as the narrator describes the trash … Read More The Canary in Davis’ “Life in the Iron Mills”

Tumblr Projects in the Literature Classroom

Last month, I published “Tumblr, Blogger, and Wikis in the Literature Classroom.” Today, I want to briefly discuss that post then share with you some of the products that students created in my literature survey courses. For the assignment, I gave each group (two students each) a term or historical event. Each group had to have three aspects to their presentation/Tumblr post.


Herman Melville’s Bartleby and Civil Disobedience?

When I asked students what they thought of Herman Melville’s Bartleby, the Scrivener, most expressed frustration with Bartleby because they did not know his motivations. Truthfully, we never really know for sure what drives Bartleby to continue to tell his employer, “I would prefer not to.” However, I would argue, as some have done, that we should read Melville’s story, as we do Rebecca … Read More Herman Melville’s Bartleby and Civil Disobedience?

Are We Just a Number? Henry David Thoreau and W.H. Auden

Ralph Waldo Emerson concludes his essay “Self-Reliance” (1841) with the following words: “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles” (660).About seven years later, Henry David Thoreau delivered his lecture “Resistant to Civil Govermnet,” which would eventually be renamed “Civil Disobedience” after his death. Thoreau’s lecture, essentially, elaborates on the closing lines of Emerson’s essay, … Read More Are We Just a Number? Henry David Thoreau and W.H. Auden