December 15, 85

Vol. 01 , No. 06   


View Entire Issue (Vol. 01 , No. 06)


THE DIRECTOR'S CORNER
JOHN ROTH

William Trogdon is better known as William Least Heat Moon, author of the best-selling book Blue Highways: A Journey into America (1983). Persuaded that there was no quick fix for his "nearly desperate sense of isolation and a growing suspicion that I lived in an alien land," Moon chucked his Missouri routine one "last day of winter," took to the road in a van named "Ghost Dancing," and looped America "from the heartland out and around" in a search for clarity and renewal.

Moon treasures lines from a Navajo chant: "Remember what you have seen, because everything forgotten returns to the circling winds." His book takes that counsel to heart. Traveling the byways-the secondary roads that old maps used to mark in blue-Moon met people and saw places that gave him hope. His route took him through Nameless, Tennessee, to Dime Box, Texas, Depoe Bay in Oregon, and Othello, New Jersey.

Blue Highways missed Claremont, but on Tuesday, December 3, Bill Trogdon adds that stop to his itinerary when he arrives at the Athenaeum for conversations at lunch and dinner. Persons with a special interest in American literature, history, and politics-as well as anyone who simply enjoys being on the road-should find his visit inviting.

Journeys of other kinds precede Moon's Athenaeum stay. A symposium on "South Africa in Crisis" takes us into a troubled and troubling part of the contemporary world. Elie Wiesel's return to Claremont puts us in touch with the European past, one that leads him to affirm the call to remember that warning in Least Heat Moon's Navajo chant. These journeys evoke somber moods, but in the midst of them, it is good to remember, too, that we have reasons for Thanksgiving. Consult your calendars and plan to hear our autumn visitors. And make reservations for an Athenaeum Thanksgiving with us as you do so.