The most common charge made against him is that of hypocrisy. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? It's easy to mock Thoreau--if you've never actually read the work. Perhaps this is why I thought Walden so satisfying; it succeeds greatly as a treatise on depression. Wilderness and the American Mind: Henry David Thoreau: Philosopher. At that stage in life I dont believe many are ready for all the ideas presented.
The Almanac of American Letters. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. Princeton University Press, 1996 pp. September 7, 2015, at the. As I peered into the Thoreau's brass face I began to remember why I love this guy. Rather let it be named from the fishes that swim in it, the wild fowl or quadrupeds which frequent it, the wild flowers which grow by its shores, or some wild man or child the thread of whose history is interwoven with its own; not from him who could show no title to it but the deed which a like-minded neighbor or legislature gave him who thought only of its money value; whose presence perchance cursed — him all the shores; who exhausted the land around it, and would fain have exhausted the waters within it; who regretted only that it was not English hay or cranberry meadow — there was nothing to redeem it, forsooth, in his eyes — and would have drained and sold it for the mud at its bottom.
Thoreau is so redundant and he contradicts his own ideas multiple times. In Concord he met Ralph Waldo Emerson, who took a paternal interest in Thoreau and introduced him to local writers like Hawthorne, Bronson Alcott, Ellery Channing and his future literary representative, Horace Greeley. Everyone in a complex economy, even a commercial farmer, is in this situation. In all honesty, I'd say this is the most boring book I ever read. When I first read Walden as a young teenager, I loved it and felt a strong connection. He rarely describes the hardships encountered throughout his two year experience, and when he does, it's to illuminate how easily he handled them.
In an 1849 letter to his friend H. Everyone in a native community lives in simple huts or longhouses and everyone has housing, whereas we've achieved these amazing levels of luxury and comfort and a good portion of our population have less than nothing, and what a waste that is of supposed civilization and technology. Why I actually took the name of my movement from Thoreau's essay 'On the Duty of Civil Disobedience', written about 80 years ago. I should have written this while the book was fresher in my mind. He is a singular character---a young man with much of wild original nature still remaining in him; and so far as he is sophisticated, it is in a way and method of his own. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitches to-day to save nine to-morrow.
Thoreau said he was willing to pay the highway tax, which went to pay for something of benefit to his neighbors, but that he was opposed to taxes that went to support the government itself—even if he could not tell if his particular contribution would eventually be spent on an unjust project or a beneficial one. If men would steadily observe realities only, and not allow themselves to be deluded, life, to compare it with such things as we know, would be like a fairy tale and the Arabian Nights' Entertainments. The University of Chicago Press. This book is part of the Shambhala Pocket Library series. You wonder if anything but loons and books ever pleased him. Franklin Benjamin January 1, 1905.
The book compresses the time into a single calendar year and uses passages of four seasons to symbolize human development. Walden is in fact a hymn to the natural rhythms and seasons, to the trees and vegetation that blooms and decays in perfect communion with the birds and fauna that populate the wilderness. Thoreau was deeply concerned about injustices he witnessed during his life. Others who are said to have been influenced by Civil Disobedience include: President , Supreme Court Justice , and various writers such as, , , , , and. What right had the unclean and stupid farmer, whose farm abutted on this sky water, whose shores he has ruthlessly laid bare, to give his name to it? This book was the perfect recommendation for myself.
The best works of art are the expression of man's struggle to free himself from this condition, but the effect of our art is merely to make this low state comfortable and that higher state to be forgotten. The texts are accompanied by explanatory annotations, Thoreau's survey of Walden Pond, and the 1852 Walling map of Concord village and its environs. Perhaps depression is a means of my brain to beg me to lock into a long-term, serious, substantial issue, and solve it to the betterment of my own health and to the contentment of others; depression is certainly a means to enter a ruminative cycle of focused thought. This experiment was meant to prove that he could be self-sufficient wit I read this for one of my university English courses. Apparently he went home weekly to get cookies from his mother, who also kindly delivered doughnuts and pies to our hero. In 1866, four years after Thoreau's death, the essay was reprinted in a collection of Thoreau's work under the title Civil Disobedience.
A vegetarian before it was fashionable, or even respectable; a pioneer of nature writing and conservationism; a godfather of activism and p How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book! The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think is right. He's insufferably smug, for sure. In 1817, Henry David Thoreau was born in Massachusetts. In the summer of 1850, Thoreau and Channing journeyed from Boston to Montreal and Quebec City. Archived from on August 24, 2017.
Thus it seemed like a good time to revisit his thorny classic, which filled me with such contradictory feelings the first time around. He processed everything he read, in the local laboratory of his Concord experience. For the 200th anniversary of his birth, publishers released several new editions of his work: a recreation of Walden 's 1902 edition with illustrations, a picture book with excerpts from Walden, and an annotated collection of Thoreau's essays on slavery. Upon graduation Thoreau returned home to Concord, where he met through a mutual friend. First published in 1854, it details Thoreau's experiences over the course of two years, two months, and two days in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts. Shawn Chandler Bingham, Thoreau and the sociological imagination : the wilds of society.
But Thoreau, despite how dear doughnuts were to him, doesn't want to admit to this in his writing. I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or thousand … Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion … 67-68 The nation itself, with all its so-called internal improvements, which, by the way, are all external and superficial, is just such an unwieldy and overgrown establishment, cluttered with furniture and tripped up by its own traps, ruined by luxury and heedless expense, by want of calculation and a worthy aim, as the million households in the land; and the only cure for it, as for them, is in a rigid economy, a stern and more than Spartan simplicity of life and elevation of purpose. Philip Van Doren Stern, ed. Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, p. I used to hate when people said this kind of thing about books, so I feel like a dick for saying it, but it was too long. But he felt we could and should insist on better. I fell in love then and this book continued that love.