Sunday, September 02, 2007

so now I'm reading American Bloomsbury by Susan Cheever (Simon and Schuster 2006). it's about those famous folk of Concord, down the road. the Bloomsbury reference is probably apt, a buzzing little socio-artistic conclave. I haven't tried too hard but the only one of interest to me among the Bloomsburies is Virginia. I catch a more righteous buzz from Concordia (as I think Bronson called the town). the interrelationships and interconnections of those American eccentrics is fascinating. it's hard to avoid a slavish respect, see the worth of these people without exceeding. Bronson Alcott resembled his friend Henry James Sr, loaded with ideas but lacking in practicalities. tho there's a picture of him sitting on a bench with some apples, and the caption indicates that Bronson would offer apples to passersby, who then were required to listen to his theories (he said hi like the spider to the fly). I didn't know Thoreau met Poe, and have no idea how that would have turned out. I read a bio of Whitman that rendered Thoreau's visit to Whitman as a competition of sorts, giving victory to Whitman for having it more together. which I think meant more boldly confident in his assertions. whatever. it's funny to think of this village of teeming intellectual curiosity since now the town is no such thing. it is a well-heeled, very pretty town with wonderfully dreamy homes but whatever intellectual ruction exists is kept indoors. as is the case mostwhere in the US. utopia now has more to do with nice lawns and stock options than anything Fruitlands or Brook Farm might've aimed for. why isn't there intellectual fervour? hm.
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