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Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. He did not become "Henry David" until after college, although he never petitioned to make a legal name change. The house is original, but it now stands about yards away from its first site. But his ugliness is of an honest and agreeable fashion, and becomes him much better than beauty.

A legend proposes that Thoreau refused to pay the five-dollar fee for a Harvard diploma. In fact, the master's degree he declined to purchase had no academic merit: The traditional professions open to college graduates—law, the church, business, medicine—failed to interest Thoreau, [21]: He died in his brother Henry's arms. The first journal entry on October 22, , reads, "'What are you doing now? Thoreau was a philosopher of nature and its relation to the human condition. They held that an ideal spiritual state transcends, or goes beyond, the physical and empirical, and that one achieves that insight via personal intuition rather than religious doctrine.

Once back in Concord, Thoreau went through a restless period. In April he and his friend Edward Hoar accidentally set a fire that consumed acres 1. Thoreau needed to concentrate and get himself working more on his writing. I see no other alternative, no other hope for you. The next day Thoreau was freed, against his wishes, when his aunt paid his taxes. Bronson Alcott attended the lecture, writing in his journal on January Thoreau did not find a publisher for this book and instead printed 1, copies at his own expense, though fewer than were sold.

Thoreau left Walden Pond on September 6, The book compresses that time into a single calendar year, using the passage of four seasons to symbolize human development. Thoreau moved out of Emerson's house in July and stayed at a home on Belknap Street nearby. He kept detailed observations on Concord's nature lore, recording everything from how the fruit ripened over time to the fluctuating depths of Walden Pond and the days certain birds migrated. The point of this task was to "anticipate" the seasons of nature, in his words.

Until the s, literary critics [ who?

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Henry David Thoreau Quotes About Values

For instance, his late essay, "The Succession of Forest Trees," shows that he used experimentation and analysis to explain how forests regenerate after fire or human destruction, through dispersal by seed-bearing winds or animals. He obsessively devoured all the first-hand travel accounts available in his day, at a time when the last unmapped regions of the earth were being explored. He processed everything he read, in the local laboratory of his Concord experience. Among his famous aphorisms is his advice to "live at home like a traveler.

Thoreau was disgusted by this, and he composed a speech— A Plea for Captain John Brown —which was uncompromising in its defense of Brown and his actions. Thoreau's speech proved persuasive: As a contemporary biographer of John Brown put it: His health declined over three years with brief periods of remission, until he eventually became bedridden.

He also wrote letters and journal entries until he became too weak to continue. His friends were alarmed at his diminished appearance and were fascinated by his tranquil acceptance of death. When his aunt Louisa asked him in his last weeks if he had made his peace with God, Thoreau responded: Aware he was dying, Thoreau's last words were "Now comes good sailing", followed by two lone words, "moose" and "Indian".

Bronson Alcott planned the service and read selections from Thoreau's works, and Channing presented a hymn. Thoreau's journals, which he often mined for his published works but which remained largely unpublished at his death, were first published in and helped to build his modern reputation. A new, expanded edition of the journals is underway, published by Princeton University Press.

Today, Thoreau is regarded [ who? Thoreau family graves at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Replica of Thoreau's cabin. Site of Thoreau's cabin. It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to. A little bread or a few potatoes would have done as well, with less trouble and filth.

Thoreau neither rejected civilization nor fully embraced wilderness. His philosophy required that he be a didactic arbitration between the wilderness he based so much on and the spreading mass of North American humanity. He decried the latter endlessly but felt the teachers need to be close to those who needed to hear what he wanted to tell them. He was in many ways a 'visible saint', a point of contact with the wilds, even if the land he lived on had been given to him by Emerson and was far from cut-off. The wildness he enjoyed was the nearby swamp or forest, and he preferred "partially cultivated country.

His expectations were high because he hoped to find genuine, primeval America. But contact with real wilderness in Maine affected him far differently than had the idea of wilderness in Concord. Instead of coming out of the woods with a deepened appreciation of the wilds, Thoreau felt a greater respect for civilization and realized the necessity of balance. I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man; wine is not so noble a liquor Of all ebriosity, who does not prefer to be intoxicated by the air he breathes?

Thoreau's political writings had little impact during his lifetime, as "his contemporaries did not see him as a theorist or as a radical, viewing him instead as a naturalist. The essay galvanized Gandhi, who wrote and published a synopsis of Thoreau's argument, calling its 'incisive logic.

Henry David Thoreau

I adopted some of them and recommended the study of Thoreau to all of my friends who were helping me in the cause of Indian Independence. Martin Luther King, Jr. He wrote in his autobiography that it was.

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Here, in this courageous New Englander's refusal to pay his taxes and his choice of jail rather than support a war that would spread slavery's territory into Mexico, I made my first contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance. Fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times. And third, quite often any words would be inadequate at expressing many of Thoreau's non-verbal insights into truth. Thoreau must use non-literal language to express these notions, and the reader must reach out to understand.

Walden emphasizes the importance of solitude, contemplation, and closeness to nature in transcending the "desperate" existence that, he argues, is the lot of most people. The book is not a traditional autobiography, but combines autobiography with a social critique of contemporary Western culture's consumerist and materialist attitudes and its distance from and destruction of nature. There are signs of ambiguity, or an attempt to see an alternative side of something common. Some of the major themes that are present within the text are:.

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There has been much guessing as to why Thoreau went to the pond. White stated on this note, "Henry went forth to battle when he took to the woods, and Walden is the report of a man torn by two powerful and opposing drives—the desire to enjoy the world and the urge to set the world straight", [6] while Leo Marx noted that Thoreau's stay at Walden Pond was an experiment based on his teacher Emerson 's "method of nature" and that it was a "report of an experiment in transcendental pastorialism ". Likewise others have assumed Thoreau's intentions during his time at Walden Pond was "to conduct an experiment: Could he survive, possibly even thrive, by stripping away all superfluous luxuries, living a plain, simple life in radically reduced conditions?

Although Thoreau went to Walden to escape what he considered, "over-civilization", and in search of the "raw" and "savage delight" of the wilderness, he also spent considerable amounts of his time reading and writing. Thoreau spent nearly four times as long on the Walden manuscript as he actually spent at the cabin. Upon leaving Walden Pond and at Emerson's request, Thoreau returned to Emerson's house and spent the majority of his time paying debts.

During those years Thoreau slowly edited and drafted what were originally 18 essays describing his "experiment" in basic living. After eight drafts over the course of ten years, Walden was published in After Walden ' s publication, Thoreau saw his time at Walden as nothing more than an experiment. He never took seriously "the idea that he could truly isolate himself from others". Walden enjoyed some success upon its release, but still took five years to sell 2, copies, [16] and then went out of print until Thoreau's death in It is often assumed that critics initially ignored Walden , and that those who reviewed the book were evenly split or slightly more negative than positive in their assessment of it.


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But researchers have shown that Walden actually was "more favorably and widely received by Thoreau's contemporaries than hitherto suspected. Positive comments included praise for Thoreau's independence, practicality, wisdom, "manly simplicity", [20] and fearlessness. Not surprisingly, less than three weeks after the book's publication, Thoreau's mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson proclaimed, "All American kind are delighted with Walden as far as they have dared to say. On the other hand, the terms "quaint" or "eccentric" appeared in over half of the book's initial reviews. While valuing freedom from possessions, Thoreau was not communal in the sense of practicing sharing or of embracing community.

So, communism "is better than our hermit's method of getting rid of encumbrance. In contrast to Thoreau's "manly simplicity", nearly twenty years after Thoreau's death Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson judged Thoreau's endorsement of living alone in natural simplicity, apart from modern society, to be a mark of effeminacy, calling it "womanish solicitude; for there is something unmanly, something almost dastardly" about the lifestyle.

After all, for me, I prefer walking on two legs". Today, despite these criticisms, Walden stands as one of America's most celebrated works of literature.

Henry David Thoreau - Wikipedia

John Updike wrote of Walden , "A century and a half after its publication, Walden has become such a totem of the back-to-nature, preservationist, anti-business, civil-disobedience mindset, and Thoreau so vivid a protester, so perfect a crank and hermit saint, that the book risks being as revered and unread as the Bible. Skinner wrote that he carried a copy of Walden with him in his youth, [29] and eventually wrote Walden Two in , a fictional utopia about 1, members who live together in a Thoreau-inspired community.

Kathryn Schulz has accused Thoreau of hypocrisy, misanthropy and being sanctimonious based on his writings in Walden , [31] although this criticism has been perceived as highly selective. The game was released to critical acclaim on July 4, , celebrating both the day that Thoreau went down to the pond to begin his experiment and the th anniversary of Thoreau's birth. Digital Thoreau, [37] a collaboration among the State University of New York at Geneseo, the Thoreau Society, and the Walden Woods Project, has developed a fluid text edition of Walden [38] across the different versions of the work to help readers trace the evolution of Thoreau's classic work across seven stages of revision from to Within any chapter of Walden , readers can compare up to seven manuscript versions with each other, with the Princeton University Press edition, [39] and consult critical notes drawn from Thoreau scholars, including Ronald Clapper's dissertation The Development of Walden: An Annotated Edition [41] Ultimately, the project will provide a space for readers to discuss Thoreau in the margins of his texts.

Protagonist Sam Gribley is nicknamed "Thoreau" by an English teacher he befriends. Shane Carruth 's second film Upstream Color features Walden as a central item of its story, and draws heavily on the themes expressed by Thoreau. The film Dead Poets Society heavily features an excerpt from Walden as a motif in the plot. The Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish makes several references to Walden on their eighth studio album Endless Forms Most Beautiful of , including in the song titled "My Walden".

The investment research firm Morningstar, Inc. In the video game Fallout 4 , which takes place in Massachusetts, there exists a location called Walden Pond, where the player can listen to an automated tourist guide detail Thoreau's experience living in the wilderness. At the location there stands a small house which is said to be the same house Thoreau built and stayed in. Phoebe Bridgers references the book in her song Smoke Signals. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the book by Henry David Thoreau.

For other uses, see Walden disambiguation. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. August Learn how and when to remove this template message. Retrieved 8 August Walden Civil Disobedience and Other Writings.

Moldenhauer With a new introduction by Paul Theroux" Press release. Summary and Analysis of Chapters 1—3". Archived from the original on March 18, Retrieved December 28, New Beginnings After the End". Walden and Civil Disobedience. Barnes and Noble Classics. Studies in the American Renaissance: Columbia University Press, pp.

His Character and Opinions". A Portrait in Paradox. Oxford University Press , A Matter of Consequences. Retrieved October 19, Archived from the original on October 19, Archived from the original on October 26, Retrieved October 21, Retrieved April 26, Retrieved March 19, The Writings of Henry David Thoreau: Walden, or, Life in the Woods. Wendell Berry Ernest Callenbach G. Retrieved from " https: Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikiquote Wikisource. This page was last edited on 5 September , at By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Original title page of Walden featuring a picture drawn by Thoreau's sister Sophia. August 9, [1] Ticknor and Fields: Wikisource has original text related to this article: Wikimedia Commons has media related to Walden.