Ruminations or The Examined Life

Blaise Pascal wrote that “Man is but a reed, the weakest in nature; but he is a thinking reed.” This discussion course will focus on selected passages from essays by Montaigne, Rousseau, Emerson, and Thoreau, as these thinkers seek to become more self-aware, to examine man’s place in nature and society, and to live life mindfully. MSC

Required Books: Michel de Montaigne, The Essays: A Selection ISBN 978-0140446029; any edition of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Optional: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Reveries of a Solitary Walker, ISBN 978-0140443639. Photocopies of additional short readings from poets, novelists, and other essayists will be provided by the instructors.

Leona Dufour and Janet Kehl, drawing on their respective studies in English and French literature, have collaborated on three previous courses at the College.

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