Ithaca Free School

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Saturday -- Chili Juice & Halfbaked Schemes

No classes today. Tomorrow, the rest of Joshua and First Judges with apparently a clutch of new attendees. As well as Crystal's super brunch extravaganza, for which she made a special shopping trip tonight.

A conversation with my father leads me to suspect that there are perhaps lurkers and others reading this of whose interest I have been heretofore unaware. If so, speak up please! Comment, email, or drop by a class! We are eager for new folks to join us.

Crystal and I are going to work up some leaflet sized schedules that can be tacked up on bulletin boards on which space is a premium (i.e. all of them, at least downtown) and also distributed to friends and strangers.

Also with this in mind I think I am going to just start listing ideas for new classes as they occur to me, in the hopes that someone will be interested enough to get in touch and set a time. "Two is quorum," our unofficial motto, guides me here. Two can also be the core of a group which will grow over time. Several of the groups that started with Christopher and I only have since expanded.

So, here's some ideas, in addition to the perennial language classes / Pound / etc.:

American history from primary sources. Anne and I talked about this, and it's a subject admitting of wide interpretation. I checked out a Library of America book of source documents on the American revolution, for example, as well as a book of source documents from the first Jamestown charter. There's also early books like Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia. Anne I know is interested in the Adams clan, which connects up with Pound of course. Dave G. has talked about a "Radical American History" class which would presumably trace the antinomian strain from Anne Hutchinson to Thoreau to Emma Goldman and Assata Shakur. Frank brought by this incredible book of slave narratives which would be great to read. So, some version of American history from the sources.

The utopian tradition. I've been getting into this and would love to see if anyone wants to read up on everything from Fourier to the American experimental communities. Did you know that a Jesuit priest established a functional utopia on the model of Thomas More's book in South America in the 1600s? Another big subject but well worth diving into.

I really want to see if anyone would commit to what I am thinking about labelling "American Renaissance" after the F.O. Matthiessen book that focuses on 1850 - 1855. This is the half-decade which saw the publication of Moby-Dick, Walden, The Scarlet Letter, Emerson's Representative Men, and Leaves of Grass, to name only five. More specifically I want to read Emerson and Thoreau, entire, and see where that takes us.

Naturalist writing. Gilbert White, Bartram, Mark Catesby, Thoreau (for the third time), Peter Kalm. Ecological consciousness has deep roots, like just about everything else. Let's dig 'em out.

If you're interested in any of this stuff, find a time that works for you and let's get in touch.



At February 19, 2005 at 3:54 PM, Blogger Ithaca Free School said...

Oh yeah, and how could I possibly forget:

The Elizabethan Renaissance!

Starting with reading the great 16th cent. translations of the classics: Chapman's Homer, Golding's Metamorphoses, etc. etc. etc.

At February 19, 2005 at 5:17 PM, Anonymous Crystal said...

The tentative Brunch menu is as follows:

Fruit Salad
Blueberry Pound Cake
New Potatoes w/ cheesey and veggie goodness


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