Monday, October 10, 2011

Suburbs of Our Discontent

Thoreau on Shakespeare, My Daughter on the Myth of Eternity

I went to Walden Pond with my kids yesterday. Thoreau is awesome for so many reasons, not least of which is his affection for Mr. Shakespeare:

"True, we have declared our independence, and gained our liberty, but we have dissolved only the political bonds which connected us with Great Britain; though we have rejected her tea she still supplies us with food for the mind. Milton and Shakspeare, Cowper and Johnson, with their kindred spirits, have done and are still doing as much for the advancement of literature, and the establishment of a pure and nervous language, on this as on the other side of the water."

—Henry David Thoreau, unpublished essay, 1836, from Early Essays and Miscellanies, eds. Joseph J. Modenhauer and Edwin Moser, with Alexander C. Kern, 1974

To paraphrase: Doesn't matter what shit goes down between us and England; Shakespeare is and always will be AWESOME.

To Thoreau I say yeah, baby.

While in literary la-la land, I asked my five-year-old, "Why do you think there's a statue of Thoreau?"

She replied "So that people don't forget him."

Yes, exactly!

But then she took another look at the statue, dramatically turned away from it, and yelled "HA HA HA! I've forgotten all of him!" Then she ran off towards the ice cream truck.

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