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Maine Coast Semester

Chris Welser

Latin Teacher

About

Chris Welser

After years of teaching Latin and ancient history at a number of colleges and universities, I decided to make my home in Maine largely because of its natural beauty. The woods, water, and rocks that dominate Maine’s landscape seem to me not just spectacular but meaningful. To be among them is to experience the spiritual discipline that Emerson wrote about in his famous essay on “Nature”: they remind us, in the gentlest possible way, of the larger reality of which we are only a small part, and of the necessities that lie at the foundation of all human life.

The study of ancient languages and cultures also serve to remind us of important truths that are easily forgotten in the modern world. In historical terms, it is only very recently that large numbers of people began to live at a distance from the land, resources, and forms of work that sustain our civilization. The Romans were great city-builders, but they still lived with an awareness of their dependence on the natural world, and this awareness is present throughout their literature. The longer I taught history, the more I became convinced that it was important for students to understand the very different lives lived by most people throughout the centuries, lives which were lived closer to nature and which thus entailed an awareness of truths now easily forgotten in the artificial worlds created by present-day technology. Naturally, I was excited, after three years in Maine, to learn about the existence of Chewonki’s Maine Coast Semester program, and I’m grateful to be able to play a part in it.

What Brought Me to Chewonki?

Living in Waterville (north of Augusta), I have a long drive to the Neck which takes me down the east bank of the Kennebec and gives me the pleasure of observing the changing seasons along the river in a semi-rural landscape. Apart from my classes at Chewonki, I also work as a copy editor and translator.  

Degrees

B.A. in Economics, Swarthmore College
M.A. in Latin and Greek, University of Maryland College Park
Ph.D. in Classical Philology, Brown University

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