The Otto W. and Norma L. Schaefer Endowed Chair in Literature
Thursday, November 9 at 4:30 pm in the Auditorium of Building A of the main campus.
Professor Jeff Utzinger, Assistant Professor of English at Concordia University Texas, will speak on the subject, “A Thousand Savage Comforts: Traveling with Kah-Ge-Ga-Gah-Bowh and Henry David Thoreau.” In the years Henry David Thoreau was writing and revising Walden"a text focused on one man, in one cabin beside a pond"an Ojibwa Indian writer, Kah-Ge-Ga-Gah-Bowh, also known as George Copway, published a work called Running Sketches of Men and Places, in England, France, Germany, Belgium and Scotland"a text focused on one man travelling across “the pond” to Europe and back again. Both writers were in search of their place in the world. While Walden has become synonymous with American nature writing and environmentalism, Thoreau was also interested in the legacy of Native Americans, both within the confines of Concord, Massachusetts and within the continent at large. And while Copway’s Running Sketches conforms to the conventions of travel writing, and takes place abroad, his thoughts are never far removed from the landscapes of North America. Even though Thoreau often perpetuated the myth of the “vanishing Indian,” and Copway struggled to assimilate into a culture that preferred his disappearance, placing these texts into conversation with one another reveals two writers wrestling with what it meant to be an American in the Nineteenth Century.
Time will be given for questions and discussion.
This presentation is made possible by the generous gift of Otto W. and Norma L. Schaefer, who established the Endowed Chair in Literature at Concordia University Texas in their will and trust. The Chair will exist as long as the University offers coursework in the disciplines of literature.*
Thursday, 09 November, 2017
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