Middlebury Professor Dan Brayton Reminds TEDxMonterey Audience that People are Sea Monsters
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
The theme for the TEDxMonterey 2012 was “Sea Change,” borrowed from the Bard himself and the song he wrote for Ariel in the Tempest. For Shakespeare, the term “sea change” was connected to the body and represented a transformation.
Organizers of the event could not believe their transformative luck when they connected with Dan Brayton, a professor of English and American Literature at Middlebury who also happens to be a real life sea monster. Dan teaches courses on the literature of the sea, world literature and yes, Shakespeare. His book Shakespeare’s Ocean: An Ecocritical Exploration won the Northeast Modern Language Association’s First Book Prize. Dan is also a sailor and when he is not doing research in rare-book libraries he can be found searching for sea life and fair winds somewhere on the ocean.
The perfect fit for TEDxMonterey “Sea Change,” Dan engaged with the visual and auditory senses of the diverse audience, showing them how artists have embraced our oneness with the ocean throughout history. We are all born with gills, he reminded us, and should “embrace our inner sea monster.”
TEDxMonterey was a wonderful opportunity to bring Dan and some of the historic Middlebury literary appreciation to the Monterey Institute. As it turns out, there was a symbiotic quality to the relationship, according to Dan: “I really enjoyed the experience and am still working through it—so much to continue to study and think about.”
To read more about TEDxMonterey 2012 click here.