Thoreau’s Last Lecture:
Fall Color in the Autumn of Life
by David Leff
Sat., May 11, 2019
4:00 p.m., Douglas Library, Canaan CT
Suffering with his final illness, Henry David Thoreau journeyed to Waterbury, Connecticut to deliver the last lecture of his life in December 1860. It was the only time he spoke in Connecticut, and the trip hastened his decline.
Lecturing on “Autumnal Tints,” Thoreau not only spoke evocatively of the beauty of trees in the fall, but of the role of fallen leaves in the cycle of life, including funereal imagery that is uncomfortably poignant in retrospect. Written in an age before foliage tourism, “Autumnal Tints” is particularly refreshing, especially when it scolds New Englanders for not noticing the changes. The contrast with contemporary views of fall color is breathtaking and offers a lens through which we can better understand the meaning of this annual phenomenon for the culture of the region.
David K. Leff is an essayist, Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and former deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. He is the author of six nonfiction books, three volumes of poetry and two novels in verse. Two of his books are about H. D. Thoreau: the award-winning Canoeing Maine’s Legendary Allagash, and Deep Travel. In 2016-2017 the National Park Service appointed him poet-in-residence for the New England National Scenic Trail (NET). David has twice given presentations at the Thoreau Society Annual Gathering.
Reception to follow.
To reserve seats:
or call the Douglas Library at (860)824-7863.
The GMF lecture series is generously sponsored by Ackerly Brown, LLP.