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  • Michael Sacasas

Final Wendell Berry Reading Group

During this strange and historic time of extreme social isolation due to COVID-19, we are very pleased to be able to offer virtually a final session of our reading group on Wendell Berry's  "Uncommon Vision for the Common Good". Throughout the 2019-20 academic year, many of us have enjoyed a lively and fruitful conversation about Berry's work on a range of areas of cultural life, from food systems to healthcare to ecology to economic structures and more. Specifically, we have considered his agrarian perspective that has a way of creating an umbrella over our shared cultural activities. But in all of our discussion, we have only barely touched on what it means to be meaningfully connected to the relational cultivating of other human beings.

His notion of "membership" gets us moving in the right direction, it seems, but in these times of uncertainty, fear, and concern about how to navigate a global pandemic, we find ourselves needing more than economic analysis. So, for our final session, we turn to an essay called "Writer and Region" from Berry's collection What Are People For? Published over thirty years ago in the Spring of 1987, this essay (like so many of Berry's) has a timely and prescient tone to it as he uses Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn to compare, contrast, and offer perspective on the social outlook of Twain/Finn versus our current situation (both of 1987 and of 2020). In the end, we think Berry offers perspective that could be very informative to building our own vision for community, and for how we might better take care of each other during a time of crisis.

Join us for a live discussion on Wednesday, April 15, at 5:15. Use this link to connect to the group with Zoom.

You can download the essay here: "Writer and Region."

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