Flagler College assistant professor Hugh Marlowe kicks off the 2012 Community Lecture Series on Sept. 25 with a talk on "Strange Bedfellows: Transcendentalist Simplicity and Gilded Age Excess."
Sept. 10, 2012
New York Times editorial writer David Brooks once wrote that reverence for simplicity and self-reliance gave way to the ostentatious display and consumption that characterized the Gilded Age. Brooks argued not only that this happened but that it should have happened.
When Flagler College assistant professor Hugh Marlowe kicks off the 2012 Community Lecture Series on Sept. 25 with a talk on “Strange Bedfellows: Transcendentalist Simplicity and Gilded Age Excess,” he will attempt to explain not only how Brooks is wrong but how the path taken may have stunted the country’s soul.
“While there are clear dimensions where we can point to the Gilded Age’s self-interested drive for progress, there are other important dimensions which have become atrophied as a function of it,” said Marlowe. “More specifically, moral and spiritual dimensions.”
Marlowe cites 20th century mythologist Joseph Campbell who said that the purpose of society is to aid in the spiritual development of the individual.
“This would be a view shared by transcendentalists such as Thoreau and Emerson,” said Marlowe. “On that scale, the narrow economic values of the Gilded Age fail pretty miserably.”
Marlowe received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside and wrote his dissertation on “The Problem of Freedom,” investigating two-standpoint style arguments as a means of preventing a notion of ourselves as agents from disappearing into the event-causal flow, and exploring issues of reflective evaluation, identity, and moral realism. He currently teaches courses in philosophy and ethics at Flagler.
Marlowe’s lecture is the first in this year’s lecture series entitled “Reconstruction & Gild: Wealth, Innovation and the Pursuit of Status in Late 19th Century America” which focuses on defining moments in American history during the mid to late 1800s. Speakers will discuss the topic through the lens of their particular discipline.
Tickets are $5 per person for a single lecture, or $15 for four lectures. Active military personnel may attend at no charge. Lectures begin at 10 a.m. in the Flagler Room at Flagler College, 74 King St. Reservations are required, but space is limited. The lecture will last approximately one hour and will be followed by a coffee and pastry reception.
Call (904) 819-6282 for reservations or more information. To watch a live stream of these lectures, visit ustream.tv/channel/community-lecture-series.