English Department Events

Walter Harding Lecture

Walter Harding, who taught in SUNY Geneseo's English department from 1956 to 1982, was arguably the twentieth century’s most important scholar of Henry David Thoreau. Among his seven books on this great American writer, The Days of Henry Thoreau, first published in 1966, stands out as the definitive biography. Professor Harding edited or compiled 34 additional books, including works on other American transcendentalists such as Bronson Alcott and William Ellery Channing. At his retirement, he held the highest ranks awarded to a SUNY faculty member, Distinguished Professor and University Professor. He was the first SUNY faculty member to be awarded the degree of Honorary Doctor of Letters.

In 1941, Walter Harding helped to found the Thoreau Society, which houses the world’s largest collection of Thoreauviana.

After his death in 1996, the annual Walter Harding Lecture was established with the generous financial support of the Harding family.

Harding Lecturers

2023: Robin Wall Kimmerer
2022: Cecily Parks
2021: Carolyn Finney*
2019: Gregory Spears
2018: Spencer Crew*
2017: Bill McKibben*
2016: Elizabeth Witherell*
2015: Pier Gabrielle Foreman
2014: William Cronon
2013: Laura Dassow Walls*
2012: Megan Marshall*
2011: Martha Nell Smith*
2010: Caleb Crain*
2009: Michael Warner*
2008: Frances Smith Foster*
2007: Betsy Erkkila*
2006: Ed Folsom
2005: Ronald A. Bosco
2004: Joel Myerson

* video and/or audio links available below

Geneseo Literary Forum

The Geneseo Literary Forum brings writers of regional, national, and international stature to Livingston County and SUNY Geneseo.