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The Machine in the Garden: Essayisms Reading Group

Monday 9 November 2020, 5.00PM

Please join us to discuss the nature essay at the third meeting of the Essayisms Reading Group as part of the CModS The Contemporary Essay Research Strand. 

This week considers nineteenth-century writers who employed the essay to react to the rapid industrialisation of the British and American countryside. With this turbulent era producing figureheads of the American essay such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller, this event will invite conversation about the essay’s ability to reveal our personal and societal relationships with nature. How does the essay respond to time and technology? How did nineteenth-century nature essayists approach the issue of race? Can the essay form transcend the individualism of capitalist society? What is the role of the essay in our current climate crisis?

We will be discussing:

Henry David Thoreau’s ‘Walking’ (1862):

Chapter 1 of Margaret Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes (1843):

Letter IX from de Crèvecœur's Letters from an American Farmer (1782):

Emily Bronte’s ‘The Butterfly’ (1842):

Introduction and Chapter 1 of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ‘Nature’ (1836):

All are welcome! Please contact Bryony Aitchison ( for access to readings or any questions about getting involved. 

Please register your attendance via the Zoom link.



Location: Online via Zoom

Admission: All are welcome!