One of our goals during this course was to "think like Transcendentalists." To that end, all of usóstudents and facultyókept regular journals. We wrote or sketched or otherwise ruminated in our journals.
But every two or three weeks, we'd take part of our class evening to go on independent walks, then come back to our classroom and begin writing. From the moment we left the room and went outside to the moment we were finished writing, we did not speak to one another. Yet the communion of ideas was truly serendipitous.
We also took our journals with us on our travels to New England, writing in them often, sharing with each other our observations and our reflections.
Some of us wrote "traditional" journal entries (whatever that
means), some of us drew what we saw, some of us wrote poetry, and some of
us took photographs. You'll
find our best nuggets on these pages.
In our journaling efforts, we were especially inspired by Henry David
Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Annie Dillard, and many contemporary nature
Sarah's Thoughts on Journaling (or Everyone Was Afraid of Journals)
I sincerely believe in the power of journaling,
though I have yet to do it for more than two days in a row. The only
reason I am able to keep this journal is because it is required. I think
if I could find something that works for me, Iíd get all the relaxation and
joy from it than others do. My main problem is my ever-present need to
take on more tasks than I should. Even when I tell myself, "Iím
going to take it easy this semester," I end up just as over-committed
as I always do. I love to be involved in a variety of things, and I
thrive, but my schedule doesnít leave much time for personal reflection
or relaxation. I deeply regret this, but I canít seem to change. So
journaling always becomes one more task I have to do, and it is low on my
list of priorities.
Read and view pages from our journals
See special presentations from our "journals" (drawings, photographs, watercolors, maps, a letter, and a video!)
Right: A page from Anna's journal.
"American Transcendentalism: An Online Travel Guide" was produced by students in ENGL 446, American Transcendentalism, and ENGL 447, American Literature and the Prominence of Place: A Travel Practicum. These courses were team-taught in the Department of English at Shepherd University (formerly Shepherd College), Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in Spring 2002 by Dr. Patricia Dwyer and Dr. Linda Tate. The courses were taught again in Spring 2006 by Dr. Linda Tate. For more information on the course and the web project, visit "About This Site." © 2003 and 2006 Linda Tate.