Hope this conversation isn’t getting too professorial! Steve, yesterday, mentioned those ‘standout moments’ in Walden that we can return to again and again, and points out (lest we forget) that they are through and through literary moments — crafted and recrafted. In that respect they are unlike many standout moments we experience outside any text. “Thoreau’s accent on the present is a wonderfully deep topic, and these remarks barely scratch the surface. There’s plenty of call for dialogue!” In answer, we could pursue several lines:
· we could trace patterns among a series of standout moments within Walden;
· we could trace patterns among one or another of Walden’s moments and moments or other materials from the wider Thoreauvian corpus;
· we could trace patterns among Walden moments and moments in other literature; did Thoreau read Rousseau having an epiphany while looking skyward from the bottom of his boat in the middle of the lake? – Of course, Thoreau had his own moment in the middle of Walden. The cross reference is illuminating — but why?
· we could ask how literary moments aid and abet the luminosity and impact of non-literary moments, and ask how ‘pure’ a non-literary moment can be; a strike of thunder may make us jump – and then . . . [how many seconds or hours elapse?] then we think of Jove? Can I retrieve the innocence of the first startle? Can I see a pond and be struck by it utterly free of literary ‘pond’ resonances? “In the beginning was the word . . . in the beginning was the deed . . . in the beginning was thunder . . . or the Pond . . .