A Guide to Hiking the Liberal Arts

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  • Title: A Guide to Hiking the Liberal Arts: The Washington College Kiplin Hall Program
  • Author(s): Richard Gillin
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: New Directions in the Humanities
  • Keywords: English Romantic Poetry, Hiking in The Lake District and Yorkshire England, Hiking in West Cork Ireland, Natural World, Teaching Poetry
  • Date: December 01, 2020
  • ISBN (hbk): 978-0-949313-41-6
  • ISBN (pbk): 978-0-949313-90-4
  • ISBN (pdf): 978-1-86335-228-4
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/978-1-86335-228-4/CGP
  • Citation: Gillin, Richard. 2020. A Guide to Hiking the Liberal Arts: The Washington College Kiplin Hall Program. Champaign, IL: Common Ground Research Networks. doi:10.18848/978-1-86335-228-4/CGP.
  • Extent: 171 pages

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A Guide to Hiking the Liberal Arts tells the story of an annual travel abroad experience for students at Washington College, the twelfth oldest college in the United States, and the oldest in Maryland. Fittingly, students visit Kiplin Hall, the ancestral English home of the Calvert family, who founded Maryland. From there, they explore the surrounding countryside of North Yorkshire and that of West Cork, Ireland. Tracking the evolution of the program over twenty years, Richard Gillin details the ways in which daily hiking excursions enable students to deeply connect the experience of landscape to the study of English literature. As students push themselves physically, they are asked to consider how the specific environment informs and textures the poetry and prose they read. Moreover, the visceral struggle of climbing a mountain in cold, wet, windy weather enriches each student’s self-awareness and heightens their connection to the world at large. Students also gain a sense of personal achievement and learn first-hand how to get along with others in often difficult and uncomfortable circumstances. Ultimately, these hikes serve as touchstones that enable students to journey within and without to source tangible insight into the relationship between literature, landscape, and place.