Outfit for California: Two and a Half Tons of Essentials for the Overland Trail

by Leslie Myrick

The electrifying news of the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in the winter of 1848 compelled an estimated 80,000 adventurers to pack their bags for California in the following months. How they prepared for the journey—aided by the compilation of lists of provisions and outfitting equipment—depended on their intentions: whether to join the vast majority of travelers who went as itinerant gold hunters, leaving their families at home, or as settlers, picking up and moving with their families, in order to ply their own trade in the land of bonanza, e.g. as doctors or merchants. Continue reading “Outfit for California: Two and a Half Tons of Essentials for the Overland Trail”

ERC Starting Grant Project on Lists in Literature and Culture at the University of Freiburg

by Sarah Link and Anne Rueggemeier

“Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, Rock Around the Clock” …

Some of us might first feel the rhythmic pattern of the words, others try to concentrate on individual names and connect them to events. Whatever your reactions to these words from Billy Joel’s “We didn’t start the fire”, it shows in a nutshell many of the cultural, poetic, cognitive and epistemological characteristics that make it so attractive to study lists. And lists are everywhere: shopping lists, to-do lists, bucket lists, rankings, CVs, 1000 places to see before you die, English seminar reading lists and, of course, the sheer infinity of the list encountered, for example, in the local library catalogue. Continue reading “ERC Starting Grant Project on Lists in Literature and Culture at the University of Freiburg”

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