The Literary Arts in Fair Oaks
About Bruce Donehower, Ph.D.
Bruce Donehower, Ph.D. (UC Davis), is the Collegium representative of the Section for the Literary Arts and Humanities of the School for Spiritual Science in North America. He has been a continuous member of the North American Section for the Literary Arts and Humanities leadership team with Marguerite and Douglas Miller since 2001 until the Millers’ retirement in 2019. From 2019 – 2020 he participated actively in the reorganization of the North American Literary Arts and Humanities Section in partnership with Section members from Canada and the United States and in collaboration with Dr. Christiane Haid who heads the Section for Beautiful Sciences (Literary Arts & Humanities) and the Visual Arts Section (Sektion für Bildende Künste) at the Goetheanum. He is a contributor to the magazine Stil, a joint publication of Sections for Literary Arts, Visual Arts, and Performing Arts Section of the Free School for Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland.
Dr. Donehower is a scholar of British and German Romanticism with a special interest in Novalis and the early romantic era. He is a poet, novelist, essayist, musician, and translator. In addition to a doctorate in English Literature he has a Masters in German literature (UC Davis) and a Masters in English with emphasis on creative writing from California State University in Sacramento. He studied the craft of poetry with poets Dennis Schmitz and Gary Snyder. He is a graduate of Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, where he studied with Rene Querido. He did his BA at Hamilton College, Clinton, NY.
Dr. Donehower’s original books include: The Birth of Novalis: Friedrich von Hardenberg’s Journal of 1797, with Selected Letters and Documents; The Singing Tree: An Alchemical Fable; The Blue Iris: A Fantasia; SancXtuary: A Novel; Miko, Little Hunter of the North. And others.
Since retiring from lectureship at UC Davis in 2014, Dr. Donehower has devoted his energies to the Literary Arts and Humanities Section meetings and Section-related activities, and to the practice of music (classical guitar and composition), and to creative and scholarly writing. He recently established the imprint Sage Cabin Publishers.
Dr. Donehower has facilitated regular meetings of the Literary Arts and Humanities Section since 2010. These meetings have occurred in Fair Oaks. They began as a partnership with Jane Hipolito and southern California Section friends and members. These ongoing meetings are open now to participants outside Fair Oaks who use Zoom to attend.
Bruce and his wife Marion also sponsor Salons. These Section-inspired New Moon Salons are in-person events and are open to friends on Zoom or by Livestream. Salons are nights of original poetry, fiction, art, music, fairy tale, and conversation. Performance videos, books, and artwork by Bruce and Marion may be viewed at SageCabin.com.
Bruce and Marion Donehower hold fourth dan black belt certificates in Aikido (Aikikai), and they taught and practiced Aikido regularly for twenty-five years prior to retirement from their dojo in January 2019. They also trained in Tai Chi in Boston under Master T.T. Liang and have practiced this Taoist movement art continuously for forty-five years. Marion is a master teacher in Chi Kung and Tai Chi, an artist, and retired Jungian sandplay therapist. Both Bruce and Marion have a special interest in the meeting of West and East (so-called), and they have many decades of sitting experience in a variety of meditation disciplines—in addition to the techniques taught by Rudolf Steiner.
About Fair Oaks
The local Fair Oaks group of friends and members of the Section for the Literary Arts and Humanities has met regularly and continuously Fair Oaks since 2010. During the time of the Covid Crisis, beginning in March 2020, we have met weekly on Zoom. You can find our next meeting date in Section News.
Moving forward, our meetings will have a hybrid character—local friends and members will attend in-person and distant friends and members will use Zoom or join via Livestream.
Our hope is that the meetings will inspire friends and members of the Section for the Literary Arts and Humanities throughout North America and the world to sponsor initiatives in their own locales and—most especially—communicate the information and results of their activities to other friends and members of the Section. Communication and transparency are important values for the local group. Our regular meetings are open to anyone with an interest in the mission of the Section.
Details About Meetings and Events
The local group in Fair Oaks works on literary topics and artistic projects of mutual interest to Section members and friends in Fair Oaks, CA. We have an poetic, artistic, and musical emphasis.
For several years, in addition to discussion meetings, we have sponsored Salons. These New Moon Salons are nights of music performance, original poetry and fiction, original art, and conversation. The group also hosts poetry readings.
From time to time, as conditions permit, we sponsor Social Outings to concerts, plays, and art exhibitions – or to local sites of literary interest.
Poets and Landscapes
This new initiative will focus on literatures of California and landscapes in which such literature was imagined. The project will host a close experiential look at the play between nature, elementals, and the being human.
The local Section group in Fair Oaks includes artists dedicated to the study and performance of fairy tales, myths and legends. They collaborate to produce performance videos, salon performances, artwork, original music, books, and recordings.
Research Topics / Meeting Discussions
Here is a brief listing of topics and authors whom we have discussed over the past decade during our in-person and online meetings and events. More details are found in the meeting summaries on TheLiteraryArts.com website.
- Novalis, with emphasis on his primary writings.
- Art and Aesthetic Theory
- Critical Theory
- Fairy Tales. Myths and legends.
- Wm. Shakespeare, with emphasis on the late plays.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, with emphasis on the lyric poetry, Faust, Parts 1 and 2, The Elective Affinities, The Sorrows of Young Werther, The Italian Journey, Poetry and Truth, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, aspects of various biographies of Goethe, reader reception of Goethe during the late romantic and early modernist periods, Goethe’s importance to Rudolf Steiner and the anthroposophical movement, and selected scientific writings and writings on art and literature. We emphasize Goethe the poet.
- Owen Barfield, with emphasis on Barfield’s affiliation with The Inklings, Saving the Appearances, Romanticism Comes of Age, selected essays, poems, and lectures, and children’s stories.
- The Inklings
- Literatures of the Americas; literature of Northern California (with emphasis on the Beats and the influence of Asian spiritual traditions on the imagination of North American writers, beginning with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman).
- Buddhism (Tibetan, Zen, Sutra Traditiion), with emphasis on Buddhism’s importance to the North American literary conversation.
- Michael Ende and George MacDonald
- Christian Morgenstern
- Major and minor poets of British Romanticism, with emphasis on William Blake. This research topic includes writers Mary Godwin Shelley and her mother Mary Wollstonecraft.
- John Milton, with emphasis on Paradise Lost as a determining influence on romanticism.
- Rudolf Steiner, with emphasis on lectures concerning art, literature, mythology, the Mysteries of antiquity and their relevance for our time, and the evolution of human consciousness. We emphasize a literary approach, using the tools of that discipline.
- The Chemical Wedding and related texts of the Rosicrucian Enlightenment.
- Contemporaries of Novalis, with emphasis on the Schlegels and Ludwig Tieck and philosophers and literary theorists active during the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century.
- Friedrich Schiller, with emphasis on the dramas and Letters on the Aesthetic Education of the Human Being.
- Hermann Hesse, with emphasis on Novalis and the continuity of the early romantic literary tradition.
- James Joyce
- Albert Steffen
- R. M. Rilke, with emphasis on “The Sonnets to Orpheus.” Rilke Project.
- Modernism as a context within which to read the events of the Christmas Foundation Conference from a literary perspective.
- Early romanticism as a context within which to read the texts of Anthroposophy from a literary perspective.
- Reader reception of Goethe and Novalis and other related writers of their era as a context within which to better understand from a literary perspective the developments in nineteenth and early twentieth century Europe that led to the Christmas Foundation Conference.
- The Foundation Stone Meditation.
- Various special topics such as “The Karma and History of the Anthroposophical Society” and meetings related to the contents of the lessons of the First Class. These meetings are open only to members of the First Class of the School for Spiritual Science. Blue cards are required for these special topic meetings. Details of these meetings are not reported in the meeting summaries.
For the past twelve years, the local Section for Literary Arts & Humanities group in Fair Oaks has met continuously — and often weekly! Join the conversation!