In this literature class I help Chinese university students decipher passages in Thoreau’s essay, “Reading,” pointing out that it may take multiple visits to his works — a journey over a span of years — to gain more understanding. I also answer a student’s question into why Thoreau thought reading the classics, preferably in the original Greek and Roman, was so important.
With 16 teaching hours per week and a four day weekend it seemed that I had an abundance of free time. There were no office hours required, but I provided nine hours during evenings throughout the week for students wanting to talk about literature, culture, or life. It had to be evenings because the studentry were in classes all day long, day after day. But despite this I was practically on sabbatical. I had the free time to get literary, practice yoga, explore grimy Chenzhou, and plan my upcoming Tibet expedition. I contacted the Xiangnan University medicine school faculty to meet with them for a tour of their facilities, and…