February 2013 Dinner Meeting

  • 02/20/2013
  • 5:00 PM
  • Union League, 65 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago


Registration is closed

Speaker: Eric Slauter

“Walden's Carbon Footprint: The Creation of an Environmental Classic”

Most people associate Henry David Thoreau’s masterpiece with solitude, manual labor, idealist philosophy, and the natural world. This talk – a blend of environmental, labor, and literary history – invites you to revisit instead the crowded, industrial, material world of the global nineteenth-century marketplace, where Thoreau’s book first took physical form over the summer of 1854. We’ll follow the supply-chain of raw materials for the first edition of the book (cotton- based paper, animal-skin glue, etc.), shine light on the many hands who directly and indirectly helped to make it (southern slaves, commodity brokers, northern mill workers, European rag-pickers, women and chil- dren in the printing trades), and reflect on the literary history of our own desire to know the origins and environmental impact of objects in our daily lives. Eric Slauter is Associate Professor of English and the Director of the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture at the University of Chicago. He specializes in early American cultural, intellectual, and literary history.

Union League, 65 W. Jackson, Chicago. Timing: spirits at 5:00, dinner at 6:00, program at 7:30.


c/o The Newberry Library
60 W. Walton Street
Chicago, IL  60610

Tel: +1 (312) 255-3710