Dr. Sean Lewis is traveling with a group of Mount students to experience Literary London during Spring Break 2022. Below is a blog post he penned and sent along to share here at MSMU Travels:
Greetings from London! Today was our second day in London and our first day in the City of London proper (old Londinium, founded by the Romans). We toured St. Paul’s Cathedral, ambled about the City of London, and ended up at Westminster Abbey, where every English monarch has been crowned since 1066. We rubbed shoulders with Geoffrey Chaucer, Lord Nelson, Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Isaac Newton, Florence Nightingale, Stephen Hawking, Winston Churchill, and Mary, Queen of Scots.
I began the day by asking our travelers to consider the parallels between a city and a person. Both are the products of nature and art. In the case of a city, there is the natural landscape, older than human habitation, that gradually becomes molded by human activity. So too, we mold our natural selves through art as we grow, choosing how we speak, act, dress, and behave (my students in WCIV 102 should recognize this as a very Confucian parallel). Nature puts limits on art, but these limits often bring out invention and ingenuity. The sum totally of this interaction between art and nature might be termed “character.” I asked our travelers to think of their experience as getting to know the character (really, characters) of London.
And they have started to do so! This is the first evening they have spent on their own, and I cannot wait to hear their stories. I did arrange a formal tea with some of them before we parted ways.
More will come from London. I would say, “Go Mount,” but that sounds rather aggressive in a medieval abbey, so I’ll convert our usual slogan to: “Universitas Sanctae Mariae ad Montes Floreat!”