Neo-Thoreauvian Speaker Series: Experiments in Living

This event last occurred on April 9, 2015, 6:30 pm.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Thoreau ventured into the woods at Walden Pond to “live deliberately” and “front only the essential facts of life.” His lifestyle of simplicity and closeness to nature as the basis for a philosophical experiment have become, in many ways, Thoreau’s greatest legacy in popular culture today, spawning the term "neo-Thoreauvian." 

In conjunction with Walden, revisited, deCordova presents an exploration into the unexpected impact of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden: Or Life in the Woods (1854) today. During this discussion series, three authors and practitioners to speak about their own temporary experiments in living.

January 22
Author John Hanson Mitchell documented his two years in a self-built Massachusetts cabin in Living at the End of Time (1990). Living off the grid at the edge of society, Mitchell's experiment echoed Thoreau’s self-sufficient life-style in most every form. During this discussion, Mitchell ponders the value of slow living and deftly compares life in the late-twentieth century with that of Thoreau’s time. THIS PROGRAM IS FREE.

March 8
Derek “Deek” Diedricksen is one of the preeminent builders in the burgeoning Microhouse movement. His company Tiny Houses builds and teaches others to build small-scale residences for minimal environmental and economic impact. Thoreau’s 10 x 15 foot cabin was spacious compared to some of Diedricksen’s innovative and thoughtful designs! Diedricksen is author of the illustrated manual Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts and host of the upcoming HGTV series Extreme Homes. THIS PROGRAM IS FREE WITH ADMISSION.

April 9
Author Judith Levine’s Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping (2007) chronicles her attempt at a radical economic experiment: prompted by the over-commercialism of everything “from pet cloning to patriotism” and frightened by her own dwindling finances and the mounds of waste overwhelming the planet, Levine and her partner spent a year purchasing nothing but the very essentials. In her book, she recounts the successes and failures of her year, while reaching surprising conclusions: living frugally brought her much closer to her community and her local public spaces. THIS PROGRAM IS FREE.

Event Type: 
Artist Talks and Lectures
Book and Film Series
Public Programs