Googling Arcadia: Our Mythical Nature Conference

A Girl with Doves, Googling Arcadia… by Zbigniew Karaszewski.

Our Mythical Childhood Nature Conference

This week, the Our Mythical Childhood project brings together participants from around the world, to talk about Nature. Nature and Myth, Nature in Children’s Books, Myth and Nature in Children’s Books. All these things.

Ordinarily, we would have gathered in Warsaw for this event. In fact, we would have met a year ago, but Nature intervened, in the form of the pandemic, and so instead of using technology to ‘conquer’ nature, and to travel around the world by plane, train, or automobile, to come together in person, we use technology to adapt to nature, and to come together virtually.

Our papers have been pre-recorded, as far as possible, and so I’m sharing a link for interested readers, to see the presentations. They cover the world–land, sea, stars, sky, sun, plants, trees, animals, food, gods. Nature’s power and terror, nature’s healing and kindness. The intersection of humanity and nature. Human thoughts about nature–challenging it, fitting in with it, understanding it.

Link to the presentations.

Nature is at the heart of so many of the myths: creation stories, season stories, aetiological stories. Myths help explain and understand the world: they are a form of early science, as well as of early religion, literature, and more. Nature is also at the heart of much children’s literature, which helps young people think about the world they live in–why it is the way it is, how they can live in it, and how to take care of it. So it’s a topic that seems almost inevitable for those of us working in this area.

This conference is the third of three magnificent events organised by Katarzyna Marciniak and her Our Mythical Childhood team and the Center for Studies on the Classical Tradition, at the University of Warsaw’s Faculty of “Artes Liberales.” As always, I feel extremely fortunate to be part of this project, and look forward to gathering together, in nature, some time in the future.

–Elizabeth Hale

Conference Theme Image: A Girl with Doves, Googling Arcadia, by Zbigniew Karaszewski.

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