Upton Sinclair & Esperanto: A Lecture in English by Brandon Sowers

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00:00 – Who was Upton Sinclair?
01:38 – What was his connection TO Esperanto?
03:59 – What did he say ABOUT Esperanto?
05:43 – Which of his works are IN Esperanto?
06:53 – The EPIC movement and his run for governor
07:54 – Who was Parley Parker Christensen?
10:05 – Why was he “La Prezidunto”?
13:05 – Back to Upton’s connections to Esperanto
14:50 – Q&A Begins
18:11 – Discussion of Myrtle Douglas (who invented cosplay) & Forrest Ackerman
24:43 – Discussion of Richard H. Geoghegan, the first English-speaking Esperantist

Upton Sinclair is well-known as the author of The Jungle, among hundreds of books. He also ran for Governor of California in 1934 in a Bernie Sanders-style movement and nearly won, as portrayed in the recent film Mank. His connections with Esperanto, however, are almost completely unknown.

Brandon Sowers gives more information on Sinclair and also outlines Parley Parker Christensen, a forgotten former vice-president of the Esperanto Association of North America who was elected to the Los Angeles City Council as part of Sinclair’s EPIC movement. In 1920, Christensen ran for president of the United States as the first candidate of the newly formed Farmer-Labor Party, and then spent the rest of the ‘20s traveling the world by Esperanto, always wearing his neatly-pressed white linen suit.

The Q&A also contains discussion of Myrtle Douglas and Forrest Ackerman, two early pioneers of Science Fiction fandom (who met each other in an Esperanto class in LA in the 1930s), and about how to research obscure but interesting Esperantists.

Additional information:
Esperanto in the New York Times: https://www.mondialbooks.com/nytimes/index.html
Parley Parker Christensen: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parley_P._Christensen
Myrtle Douglas: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morojo
Forrest Ackerman: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forrest_J_Ackerman

Here’s a video about the editing of this lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF4HeqMZzEI

Are you interested in joining a team of volunteers who will help improve interesting videos like this one? Email alexandervaughnmiller @ gmail dot com and let him know that you’d like to lend a hand.

Here’s an unlisted link to the original version of the lecture which is over 13 minutes longer and shows how helpful this editing process can be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNUyIvVBvoA

This presentation was given during the 2021 Landa Kongreso of Esperanto-USA.



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