Conference Thoreau & the Nick of time
May 27. 2022

Conference Thoreau & the Nick of time



(Pleace download on link below for program/ vinsamlega smellið á slóðina hér að neðan)


Wednesday, May 25:

9:00-9.30: REGISTRATION & COFFEE/TEA at the Snorrastofa Conference Hall of the Old District School in Reykholt (= the large white building ca 100 yards southwest of the Fosshótel).

9:35-10:00: Welcome by the organizers & Practical Information (Bergur Thorgeirsson, Henrik Otterberg, Rochelle Johnson, Michael Frederick)

10:00-12:15: Session 1: Toward a Historiography & Theology of Thoreau’s A Week: Its Past & Present; Tenses & Tensions; Sacred & Profane: Chair: Ronald Wesley Hoag

10:00-10:05: Setup & settling in; introduction of speakers.

10:05-10:45: Robert Sattelmeyer (USA), A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers: Thoreau’s Stream of Time”

10:50-11:30: William Rossi (USA), “Thoreau’s Transcendental Actualism”

[via recording or as read by Rochelle Johnson]

11.35-12:15: Barry Andrews (USA), “Of Time and the River: The Sacred and the Profane in Thoreau’s A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

12:20-13:30: LUNCH, COFFEE/TEA at the Fosshótel, and FRESH AIR


Session 2A: Unconventional Time: Thoreau & Lessons from the Non-Human:

Chair: Michael Berger; session held at Snorrastofa Conference Hall, as per above.

13:30-13:35: Setup & settling in; introduction of speakers.

13:35-14:10: Kathryn Cornell Dolan (USA), “Thus each wind is self-registering”: Thoreau and Lessons from the Beyond-Human World”

14:15-14:50: Jake McGinnis (USA), “Not Until We Are Lost”: Veer Ecology and The Maine Woods

14:55-15:30: Tim Michaels (USA), “A Stream of Temporal Undulation: Thoreau’s Ecological Time as Hyperobject”

Session 2B: Resisting Quietism & Fascist Politics: Chair: Henrik Otterberg; session held at the Snorrastofa Library, ca 100 yards west of the Fosshótel, adjacent to the church.

13:30-13:35: Setup & settling in; introduction of speakers.

13:35-14:10: Antonio Casado (Spain), “The Time for Political Transcendentalism is NOW”

14:15-14:50: Michael Frederick (USA), ”Reclaiming Resistance in Walden and other Thoreau Works”

14:55-15:30: Brent Ranalli (USA), “Modern Times: Thoreau and Charlie Chaplin” 15:30-15:55: COFFEE/TEA & FIKA BREAK at Snorrastofa Conference Hall.

16:00-17:00: KEYNOTE at the Snorrastofa Conference Hall : Laura Dassow Walls (USA), “Thoreau’s Cosmic Time” [via live link, including Q & A]. Intro/Chair: Rochelle Johnson

Session 3: Thoreau & Icelandic Experience: Chair: Bergur Thorgeirsson; session held
at the Snorrastofa Conference Hall

17:10-17:15: Setup & settling in; introduction of speakers.

17:15-17:50: Au∂ur A∂alsteinsdóttir (Iceland), “Fantasies of Life in the Woods Under a Volcano - the Relevance of Walden in contemporary Icelandic literature”

17:55-18:30: Ólafur Páll Jónsson, ”The value of the mountains in the horizon: Thoreau on the helpfulness of mountains”

19:00-20:30: DINNER on your own at Fosshótel, or nearby if you have rental car. 20:30-21:00: PIANO CONCERT with Ásta Dóra Finnsdóttir at the Church of

Reykholt, immediately south of the Snorrastofa Library.

Thursday, May 26:


Session 4A: Thoreauvian Temporalities 1: Chair: Henrik Otterberg; at the Snorrastofa Conference Hall

8:30-8:35: Setup & settling in; introduction of speakers.

8:35-9:10: Brian Bartlett (Canada), “’The First Page of Today’: Morning and Mornings in Thoreau”

9:15-9:50: Kathy Fedorko (USA), “Henry Thoreau’s Spiritual Time”
9:55-10:30: Richard Higgins (USA), Thoreau’s Eternal Return to the Sacred Now

Session 4B: Thoreauvian Temporalities 2: Chair: Sigrún Thormar; at the Snorrastofa Library.

8:30-8:35: Setup & settling in; introduction of speakers.

8:35-9:10: Stephen Hahn (USA), “Thoreau and Kairos

9:15-9:50: Mark Luccarelli (Norway & USA), ”Thoreau’s Struggle with ‘Deep Time’: Cyclical Experience in A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

9:55-10:30: Keegan Peter O’Connor (UK), In the Nick of Time: Thoreau on the Well-Timed Song of Sir Walter Raleigh”

10:35-11:00: COFFEE/TEA & FIKA BREAK at the Snorrastofa Conference Hall


Session 5A: Walden’s Habitation and History & Presentation of the Thoreau Society:

Chair: Michael Berger; at the Snorrastofa Conference Hall 11:00-11:05: Setup & settling in; introduction of speakers.

11:05-11:40: Patrick Geiger (Germany), In Walden’s Margins: Holes, Tents, Shanties and Other Uncanny Dwellings through the Ages

11:45-12:20: Rochelle Johnson & Michael Frederick on the Thoreau Society: mission, goals, activities; welcoming new members and supporters.

Session 5B: Cape Cod’s Temporalities: Chair: John Kucich; at the Snorrastofa Library. 11:00-11:05: Setup & settling in; introduction of speakers.

11:05-11:40: Albena Bakratcheva (Bulgaria), ”The Chronotope of Thoreau’s Cape Cod

11:45-12:20: Dennis Noson (USA), “From Brandford’s Pilgrims to Snorri’s Thorfinn: Thoreau’s cartographic space-time in Cape Cod’s ‘ Provincetown’”

12:20-13:30: LUNCH, COFFEE/TEA and FRESH AIR at the Snorrastofa Conference Hall


Session 6A: Thoreauvian Temporalities 3: Chair: Richard Higgins; at the
Snorrastofa Conference Hall

13:30-13:35: Setup & settling in; introduction of speakers.
13:35-14:10: Laraine Fergensen
(USA), ”On Three Concepts of Time in Thoreau”

14:15-14:50: William T. Youngs (USA), “Cohabitancy – Thoreau’s Transcending the Boundary Between Past and Present”

14:55-15:30: Mark Gallagher (USA), “The Concept of Temporality in Thoreau”

[via live link]

Session 6B: Thoreau on Evaluating Time & German Aesthetics: Chair: Paul Schacht; at the Snorrastofa Library.

13:30-13:35: Setup & settling in; introduction of speakers.

13:35-14:10: Geoff Wisner (USA), “On Thoreau’s Concept of ‘Is it Worth the While?’”

14:15-14:50: Benjamin Schacht (USA), “’Men labor under a mistake’: Labor, Leisure, and the Value of Time in the Writings of Henry David Thoreau and His Contemporaries”

14:55-15:30: William D. Fusfield (USA), “Thoreau & Schlegel’s Romantic Aesthetics”

15:30-15:55: COFFEE/TEA & FIKA BREAK at the Snorrastofa Conference Hall

16:00-17:00: PLENARY: Robert A. Gross (USA), Foolish Preachers, Poetical Farmers, and Vicious Men in the Woods: Emerson’s and Thoreau’s Representative Men” Intro/Chair: Michael Frederick; at the Snorrastofa

Conference Hall.

17:15-19:00: Cocktail/Mocktail Refreshment with Bergur Thorgeirsson & Colleagues: including GUIDANCE TO SNORRASTOFA, its History, Museum & Environs, Resources & Mission (weather allowing, including guided walk in the environs). Gathering at Exhibition Hall of the Snorrastofa Medieval and Cultural Centre (located under the Church of Reykholt.)

20:00-22:00: CONFERENCE DINNER at the Fosshótel Dining Hall.

Friday, May 27:

8:30-10:45: Session 7: Thoreau: Indigenous Influences, Deep Time and Agonistic Temporality: Chair: Rochelle Johnson; at the Snorrastofa Conference Hall.

8:30-8:35: Setup & settling in; introduction of speakers.

8:35-9:15: John Kucich (USA), “Henry Thoreau, the Indian Notebooks and the Nick of Time”

9:20-10:00: François Specq (France), “’Tak[ing] time by the forelock’: Thoreaus Agon”

10:05-10:45: Robert Thorson, “Thoreau, Geologic Time, and Walden’s Core Idea” [via live link]

10.50-11:15: COFFEE/TEA & FIKA BREAK at Snorrastofa Conference Hall. Session 8: 20th-Century Thoreauvian Reception: Novelists & Artists: Chair: Bergur

Thorgeirsson at the Snorrastofa Conference Hall. 11:20-11:25: Setup & settling in; introduction of speakers.

11:25-12:00: DavíKristinsson (Iceland), Time on Ice: Thoreau and Andri Snær Magnason”

12:05-12:40: Henrik Otterberg (Sweden), “The Time is Always Now: On Viktor IV’s Thoreauvian Influences & Departures”

12:40-13:50: LUNCH, COFFEE/TEA and FRESH AIR at the Snorrastofa Conference Hall.

Session 9: Thoreauvian Pasts and Futures: A Textual Perspective Chair: Ronald Wesley Hoag; at the Snorrastofa Conference Hall.

14:00-15:00: Paul Schacht (USA) & , Elizabeth Hall Witherell (USA), The Nick of Time, Improved: Understanding Thoreau’s Revisions to Walden

[partly via live link]

15:05-15:20 (circa) Concluding Remarks & Thanks (Bergur Thorgeirsson & Henrik Otterberg)

15:20-15:50: COFFEE/TEA & FIKA BREAK at Snorrastofa Conference Hall. (during which a separate EXCURSION PROGRAM will be distributed; practical remarks on these and affiliated logistics will be made by organizer Bergur Thorgeirsson).

16:00-17:30 Screening of Fredrik Wenzel’s and Henrik Hellström’s 2009 Swedish film Man Tänker Sitt (Burrowing), a poetic dissection of Swedish suburbia and conventionality, through the eyes of the boy Sebastian and the words of Henry Thoreau. Length: 76 mins. English subtitles. Authorized for General Viewing from 7 years of age in Sweden (contains some psychologically fraught & physically challenging scenes, though mainly philosophical in tone). Introduction by Henrik Otterberg. Free screening held at Snorrastofa Conference Hall.

19:00-21:00 DINNER on your own at Fosshótel, or nearby if you have rental car.

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Download link below:

Extended weekend program

Saturday, May 28:

8:45 AM: Gathering at Fosshotel Reykholt. 

9:00 AM: Chartered bus transport departs for the waterfall Hraunfossar, the cave Surtshellir  and the glacier Langjökull. 

1:00 PM: The hot spring Deildartunguhver 

1:30 PM: Lunch at Krauma by Deildartunguhver

3:00 PM: The Settlement Center in Borgarnes

5:30 PM: Dinner at Hotel Hamar

 8:30 PM: Storytelling and coctail in Snorrastofa, among others Pastor Geir Waage.

Sunday, May 29:

9:00 AM-12:00 PM:

Free activities in Reykholt. There are well-marked local walking trails available, starting from the hotel, for those who wish to seek the outdoors. Weather permitting, guided walk in the woods of Reykholt for those who are interested (ca. one hour, 10:30 to 11:30 AM). Snorrastofas exhibion, tourist reception, library and shop will also be open for everyone.

12 PM: Check out and lunch at the hotel     

1:15 PM: Chartered bus transport departs for the national park Þingvellir, the main historical place in Iceland

6:00 PM: Arrival in Reykjavík


Practical Information regarding the symposium “Thoreau & the Nick of Time” to be held at The Snorrastofa, Cultural and Medieval Centre in Reykholt, Iceland, on May 25-27 (Wed-Fri), 2022, with voluntary joint excursions on May 28-29 (Sat-Sun), 2022.

The symposium will be held at Snorrastofa’s conference halls, the main hall in the old school building and the library in Snorrastofa’s main building beside the Church of Reykholt. The formal address is quite simple: Reykholt, 320 Reykholt, Iceland (tel. +354 433 8000 and +354 893 1492).

Reykholt is 109 kilometers north-west of Reykjavík (inland). It is a tiny village with the population of only 47. Unfortunately, the busses do not travel that far. So, if you decide to take a bus or a taxi to Reykjavík first, we will provide a charter bus to take attendees from Reykjavík to Reykholt, free of charge. This is also an option for those who rent a vehicle, although they are welcome to drive to Reykholt themselves. Each attendee, however, must pay for their own travel expenses to Reykjavík (flights, bus, etc.). And don’t worry, more information on this will come as the conference gets nearer. We will also provide a map in due course.

For more information about the institution, see our website.


Financial Cost

Fee: There is no fee to attend the conference. It is free to everyone and open to the public.



The conference will provide snacks and coffee in the conference halls to attendees during the hours of the symposium, but the lunches will be provided and served at the Fosshótel Reykholt, which is in a three-minute walking distance from the conference halls. However, each attendee is responsible for their own dinners and any other refreshments (alcohol, etc.) after the symposium finishes each day.



Airport: The Icelandic international airport is in the town Keflavík, approximately 50 kilometers southwest of Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. There are a few travel options. The cheapest is to take a charter bus that runs regularly from the airport to the city (the fare is from 3.499 ISK or 27 USD). The most popular of these is Flybus, which stop just outside the arrival terminal, but there are other options. You can either purchase tickets in advance or once you get to the airport. You can find information and prices here:

You can also take a taxi at the airport, which is more expensive (about 15.500-18.000 ISK or 118-137 USD for 1-4 persons). It is recommended that you ask about the price before the journey starts. There are plenty of taxis available at the airport 24 hours a day, but you can also schedule a ride with one of the many companies, for instance Hreyfill: or BSR: 

Another option is to rent a car. You need to have a valid driver’s license from your own country and at least 20 years of age. There are quite a few companies that operate both at Keflavík airport and around Iceland. Here is helpful guide for renting a car in Iceland: car rental.

Unless you rent a car, you will have to first travel to Reykjavík before going to Reykholt where the symposium will take place. These names sound alike but they are different parts of the country!



Reykholt has limited options for accommodation. We recommend that everyone stay at the Fosshótel, which sits literally behind Snorrastofa. We are currently working on pricing a group discount and will update everyone when that is solidified. Fosshótel features a restaurant and a bar, as well as a spa that features hot tubs, a sauna, and more. These costs will not be covered by the Thoreau conference, however. There are not many other options for accommodation in Reykholt, but if you have a car, there are other options within driving distance, such as Nes, Steindórsstaðir and Hótel Húsafell.

There are many different options for accommodation in Reykjavík, from youth hostels, hotels, Airbnb, and more. Prices vary. If anyone has trouble or questions about staying in Reykjavík, please feel free to email Zachary J. Melton, the employee of the conference (



The symposium will take place May 25 – 27, and for those who want to stay in Iceland a bit longer, we are planning an excursion for May 28 – 29. We will take a charter bus to nearby attractions. Costs for the excursion is forthcoming.


Other Information

Late May is generally a nice time to visit Iceland. While temperatures are generally a bit warmer, the Icelandic weather is notoriously unpredictable. It is recommended to bring waterproof coats, shoes, and pants, as it rains often. A heavy winter coat should not be necessary, but again, it is Iceland!

Late May is also a time of the year when we get very little nighttime in Iceland. The sun barely sets, so be prepared for lots of light when you are trying to sleep. The hotel should have curtains that block out the sunlight; however, you may want to bring a sleeping mask just in case.

The Fosshótel and Snorrastofa provide free WiFi. Snorrastofa also provides a library with working spaces.

If anyone needs to print documents, handouts, or notes, speak with the staff of Snorrastofa and they will help accommodate you.


On Reykholt and Snorrastofa in brief

Reykholt in south-western Iceland is a great and unique historic site, which due to Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241) is intertwined with the cultural history of Europe. The tiny village was the main residence of this great medieval writer, poet, scholar, and statesman. Important antiquities have been found at the location and they, together with Snorrastofa, the local church, the hotel, and other activities, make Reykholt a vital and vibrant place.

Snorrastofa is an independent research center established in 1995. Its chief task is to instigate and conduct research on the medieval period in general, and Snorri and his works in particular. It´s one of Iceland’s main historic sites, a cultural center past and present. Reykholt has always been associated with scholarly work, but with the establishment of Snorrastofa this status has been secured and expanded.  

Snorrastofa has sufficient facilities and infrastructure to host and/or offer a suitable environment for supervising research, and even training of recruited Early-Stage Researchers. It has facilities for conferences, meetings, and accommodation, both in the facilities that opened in the year 2000 and an old schoolhouse. Snorrastofa has also a good library, which specializes in medieval literature, history, and culture.            


Dining, tipping & cash

Reykholt does not host a wide range of restaurants, you have the restaurant at the hotel and some snacks and hotdogs at the local gas station. But fortunately, there are high quality restaurants in the neighborhood, both east and west of Reykholt. The nearest are Krauma, which is about 6 km. away (, and Hverinn-Restaurant ( at the village Kleppjárnsreykir (also 6 km. away). You have also Hótel Húsafell 22 km. away, which has an exclusive restaurant (, and Hamarinn at Hótel Hamar 39 km. away (

As always, to be sure you get to enjoy the tasty food, book a table in advance! Have also in mind, that you don´t have to tip in Iceland, but you can tip if you want. It´s not at all common.  All restaurants will take standard credit cards such as VISA, Mastercard, and American Express.  ATM machines are not widely available and the nearest to Reykholt is in at Arion banki at Digranesgötu 2 in Borgarnes, 39 km. away.

A final note on alcohol purchased outside of authorized restaurants and pubs: any beverage stronger than 2,25% by volume will only be sold at the

Vinbúðin stores, controlled by the federal government. The nearest is at Borgarbraut 58-60 in Borgarnes, 39 km. away.


Language & Etiquette

Locals are typically friendly and happy to help with directions and suggestions, also speaking good English. Iceland has maybe the lowest crime rate in the world despite what all those Nordic thriller writers claim of our every nook and cranny – and

walking freely and undisturbed on the streets and in its parks and nature reserves is something Iceland´s inhabitants value highly. Normal caution during late nights in the capital Reykjavík is of course advisory, as in any urban cluster.



All normally necessary equipment PowerPoint, sound, etc. will be at hand during the sessions. We recommend that you bring your digital presentation material

on a USB stick or, even better, e-mail it in advance to That way, we can use a single computer, and the transitions between papers will hopefully run smoothly. PowerPoint users are advised to pare their files down to screen display mode, and as backup also to save their PowerPoint presentations in PDF format. Please let us know if you require any special equipment for your presentation, and we will do our best to provide it. If you need to use a printer, we can arrange this as well.



If something unforeseen happens you can always call the organizers:


Bergur Þorgeirsson: +354-893-1492  (first choice)

Henrik Otterberg: +46-703-433-313

Zachary J. Melton: +354 776-5212

Sigrún Þormar: +354 847 5581



In case you find yourself in need of replenishing over-the-counter medicine/drugs

or similar, there is a pharmacy in the town Borgarnes 39 km. away. It´s called Lyfja and is located at Borgarbraut 58, tel. +354-437-1168. It´s open between 10 and 18

on weekdays and between 10 and 14 on Saturdays, closed Sundays.). It harbors staff with medical certification as apothecaries: they can thus offer advice and guidance regarding known conditions and remedies. Should you find yourself with uncertain symptoms or more acutely ill, however, we suggest seeking "Heilsugæslustöðin í Borgarnesi" (”The Health Centre in Borgarnes”) at Kveldúlfsgata 4 in Borgarnes to gain access to a certified physician/doctor. The doctors at the "Heilsugæslustöðin í Borgarnesi" are authorized to arrange orders of prescription medication on your behalf, to be presented at the ”Receipt” counter of the abovementioned pharmacy.



In case of medical or other urgent issue, please call 112 to reach police/ambulance/fire brigade 24/7. An operator will quickly harken to your chosen language and assist you with your situation. If an emergency should occur, please notify us at your convenience once help has been secured on your behalf.



A Thoreau Symposium is to be held at The Snorrastofa Cultural and Medieval Centre, Reykholt, Iceland, on May 25-27 (Wed-Fri), 2022, with voluntary joint excursions on May 28-29 (Sat-Sun), 2022.

Plenary: Laura Dassow Walls, William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English, University of Notre Dame, plus several invited session speakers.

Organizers: Bergur Thorgeirsson (Executive Director, Snorrastofa); Henrik Otterberg (Thoreau Society, Sweden); Deborah Medenbach (Thoreau Society, USA), Michael Frederick (Executive Director, Thoreau Society, USA).

Theme: Thoreau grappled with new scientific concepts of time, which opened up immense chronologies and hints of a vastly more senescent Earth than earlier known or thought possible. The relatively contained and traditional Biblical narrative of a few millennia of history were fundamentally rocked. Thoreau himself lamented the loss of simpler times of mythological clarity and cyclical revolution, while also clear-eyed about his rapidly changing present. Today we embrace the concept of “deep time” as regards the age of our universe and planet, but increasingly worry about an imminent and self-created environmental catastrophe. Once again we feel our worldly time to be short, the responsibility fundamentally our own. How to find a sustainable way forward, and may Thoreau help us to it?

Affiliated presentation topics include: science (how did the natural sciences of Thoreau’s day, saliently geology and zoology, open up and challenge traditionally and theologically received notions of time?); aesthetics (how did Thoreau deal with and portray time in his own thought and writings?); history (is it linear, circular, staggered, or perhaps just chaotic? what did Thoreau himself make of it?); furthermore politics (which timeframes are relevant to making informed, ethical decisions? a single human life or career, or perhaps something larger, of longer duration? can other cultural time- and resource frameworks than the traditionally Western - and hence often colonial - provide clues or answers?); and finally reception (has Thoreau’s time come or gone, in terms of his relevance to us?)

Please submit your abstracts/session proposals of maximum 500 words by November 1, 2021, via email to Henrik Otterberg at:

Visitor’s Reception’s Opening Hours

1 May – 31 August:
every day 10 – 17

1 Sept. – 30 April:
weekdays 10 – 17
Otherwise by arrangement.