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Archive for October, 2014

Vermont as Genius Loci: The Marshes and UVM

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

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David Lowenthal
Professor Emeritus of Geography, University College London

Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 6:00 p.m.
North Lounge, Billings Library

David Lowenthal, Professor Emeritus of Geography at University College London, will present “Vermont as Genius Loci: The Marshes and UVM.” Conservation pioneer George Perkins Marsh and his first cousin James Marsh, the fifth president of the University of Vermont, made major contributions to scholarly thought in the nineteenth century. As we celebrate the 150th  anniversary of the publication of George Perkins Marsh’s seminal work, Man and Nature, it is a fitting occasion to examine the legacy of the Marsh cousins and their impact on the University of Vermont.

David Lowenthal is the author of George Perkins Marsh: Prophet of Conservation (2000), The Past is a Foreign Country (1985), The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History (1996), and The Nature of Cultural Heritage and the Culture of National Heritage (2005).

The event is free and open to the public. Reception to follow immediately after the lecture. For more information, email uvmsc@uvm.edu or call 656-2138. Professor Lowenthal’s presentation is sponsored by the Provost’s Office, UVM Special Collections, the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Humanities Center, and the Department of Geography.

Read about James Marsh and Vermont Transcendentalism, a movement which affected the curriculum at UVM and the development of modern higher education, in Samantha Harvey’s Transatlantic Transcendentalism.  Learn more about George Perkins Marsh at the George Perkins Marsh Online Research Center.

House (1977) – DVD 10694

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

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Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House (1977) is hard to explain in words. On its surface it appears to be a horror film, but at its heart it’s a slapstick comedy, a coming-of-age story, a tale about the bitterness of war, and an experimental avant-garde art film, all rolled into one.

House has been one of my all-time favorite films since I saw it during my senior year of high school, watching it in a dark basement with a friend, neither of us having any idea what we were getting into. That is probably the best way to experience House: in a dark corner of your home, knowing as little about what you’re getting into as possible, with someone there with you. Each of these is an important factor. The first keeps you isolated, so you can totally immerse yourself in the movie. The second preserves the many surprises that the film has in store. And the third, the most necessary, is so you have someone to turn to make sure you really did see what you think you saw.

A group of schoolgirls, Gorgeous, Fantasy, Prof, Melody, Kung Fu, Mac, and Sweet, take a trip to visit Gorgeous’ aunt for their summer vacation. But Gorgeous has an ulterior motive for suggesting the trip: her widower father is newly engaged and Gorgeous isn’t very happy about it. Things take a strange turn that even Gorgeous didn’t expect, however, as strange supernatural events start to take place, and her aunt’s home changes from a dream vacation to a haunted nightmare.
House is a film that refuses to let itself be restricted by traditional cinematic techniques, whether in framing, editing or sound design. It doesn’t try to act like it has some obligation to be realistic when it is already a fantastical story of ghosts and “witch cats”. And there isn’t an ounce of irony or self-mockery to be found. House is absolutely earnest about being totally crazy and that level of dedication and heart makes me love it more than any elaborate plot or incredible performance could. This is a movie that eschews doing things a specific way just because that’s how it’s traditionally done and instead tries as many new and different things as possible, creating something truly original and new. To quote Chuck Stephen’s essay on the film, it is “eye-poppingly demented, jaw-droppingly inventive”, a film “that must be seen to be believed, and then seen again to believe that you really did see what you think you saw.” Compared to anything of its time, or even of today, House is an utterly unique experience, and one I’d recommend to anyone looking for a good time.

Persistent Link

New Digital Collections Available

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

The Center for Digital Initiatives launched two new collections this semester: University of Vermont Alumni Publications and Civil War Broadsides and Ephemera.

University of Vermont Alumni Publications

Since 1905, the University of Vermont has regularly published newsletters and magazines for its alumni. The alumni publications are a valuable source of information about the institution and UVM students, faculty, and staff. The publications document activities and accomplishments, curriculum developments, and campus expansion and building construction. They include feature articles on diverse topics, statistical and financial reports, interviews, photographs, and alumni news.

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Civil War Broadsides and Ephemera

The Civil War Broadsides and Ephemera Collection contains items from the Wilbur Collection of Vermontiana that were printed and circulated from 1861 to 1865. Most of the items are related to the war, while a small number are related to Vermont’s efforts to organize and train the state militia after the war. The collection features proclamations, orders and announcements about the state’s military operations, including recruitment, enrollment, supplies, and equipment. It also includes announcements about the progress of the war and President Lincoln’s death. One of the most unusual items is a broadside alerting the public to the theft of U.S. Treasury notes and bonds stolen from a St. Albans, Vermont bank by Confederate raiders in October 1864. Additional items will be added to this collection in the future.

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