Walden And Other Writings

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Walden And Other Writings

by Henry David Thoreau

Random House Publishing Group | September 1, 1983 | Mass Market Paperbound |

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With their call for "simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!", for self-honesty, and for harmony with nature, the writings of Henry David Thoreau are perhaps the most influential philosophical works in all American literature.

The selections in this volume represent Thoreau at his best. Included in their entirety are Walden, his indisputable masterpiece, and his two great arguments for nonconformity, Civil Disobedience and Life Without Principle. A lifetime of brilliant observation of nature--and of himself--is recorded in selections from A Week On The Concord And Merrimack Rivers, Cape Cod, The Maine Woods and The Journal.

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 464 Pages, 3.94 × 6.69 × 0.39 in

Published: September 1, 1983

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 055321246X

ISBN - 13: 9780553212464

Found in: Literary Theory and Criticism

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– More About This Product –

Walden And Other Writings

Walden And Other Writings

by Henry David Thoreau

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 464 Pages, 3.94 × 6.69 × 0.39 in

Published: September 1, 1983

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 055321246X

ISBN - 13: 9780553212464

About the Book

With their call for "simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!," for self-honesty, and for harmony with nature, the writings of Henry David Thoreau are perhaps the most influential philosophical works in all American literature.
The selections in this volume represent Thoreau at his best. Included in their entirety are "Walden," his indisputable masterpiece, and his two great arguments for nonconformity, "Civil Disobedience" and "Life Without Principle." A lifetime of brilliant observation of nature--and of himself--is recorded in selections from "A Week On The Concord And Merrimack Rivers, Cape Cod, The Maine Woods" and "The Journal."

Read from the Book

Henry David Thoreau was the last male descendant of a French ancestor who came to this country from the Isle of Guernsey. His character exhibited occasional traits drawn from this blood, in singular combination with a very strong Saxon genius. He was born in Concord, Massachusetts, on the 12th of July, 1817. He was graduated at Harvard College in 1837, but without any literary distinction. An iconoclast in literature, he seldom thanked colleges for their service to him, holding them in small esteem, whilst yet his debt to them was important. After leaving the University, he joined his brother in teaching a private school, which he soon renounced. His father was a manufacturer of lead-pencils, and Henry applied himself for a time to this craft, believing he could make a better pencil than was then in use. After completing his experiments, he exhibited his work to chemists and artists in Boston, and having obtained their certificates to its excellence and to its equality with the best London manufacture, he returned home contented. His friends congratulated him that he had now opened his way to fortune. But he replied that he should never make another pencil. "Why should I? I would not do again what I have done once." He resumed his endless walks and miscellaneous studies, making every day some new acquaintance with Nature, though as yet never speaking of zoology or botany, since, though very studious of natural facts, he was incurious of technical and textual science
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From the Publisher

With their call for "simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!", for self-honesty, and for harmony with nature, the writings of Henry David Thoreau are perhaps the most influential philosophical works in all American literature.

The selections in this volume represent Thoreau at his best. Included in their entirety are Walden, his indisputable masterpiece, and his two great arguments for nonconformity, Civil Disobedience and Life Without Principle. A lifetime of brilliant observation of nature--and of himself--is recorded in selections from A Week On The Concord And Merrimack Rivers, Cape Cod, The Maine Woods and The Journal.

From the Jacket

With their call for"simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!," for self-honesty, and for harmony with nature, the writings of Henry David Thoreau are perhaps the most influential philosophical works in all American literature. The selections in tis volume represent Thoreau at his best. Included in their entirety are "Walden, his indisputable masterpiece, and his two great arguments for nonconformity, "Civil Disobedience and "Life Without Principle. A lifetime of brilliant observation of nature -- and of himself -- is recorded in selections from "A Week On The Concord And Merrimack Rivers, Cape Cod, The Maine Woods and "The Journal.

About the Author

Henry David Thoreau was born July 12, 1817 - "just in the nick of time," as he wrote, for the "flowering of New England," when the area boasted such eminent citizens as Emerson, Hawthorne, Whitman and Melville. Raised in genteel poverty - his father made and sold pencils from their home - Thoreau enjoyed, nevertheless, a fine education, graduating from Harvard in 1837. In that year, the young thinker met Emerson and formed the close friendship that became the most significant of his life. Guided, sponsored and aided by his famous older colleague, Thoreau began to publish essays in The Dial, exhibiting the radical originality that would gain the disdain of his contemporaries but the great admiration of all succeeding generations.

In 1845, Thoreau began the living experiment for which he is most famous. During his two years and two months in the shack beside the New England pond, he wrote his first important work, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), was arrested for refusing to pay his poll tax to a government that supported slavery (recorded in "Civil Disobedience") and gathered the material for his masterpiece, Walden (1854). He spent the rest of his life writing and lecturing and died, relatively unappreciated, in 1862.

Editorial Reviews

"This book is like an invitation to life''s dance."
--E. B. White

Bookclub Guide

1. Walden, thought by many to be Thoreau's masterpiece, contains the famous lines, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." What lessons does Thoreau learn, in your view, through his experience of living in simple near isolation at Walden Pond?

2. At the end of two years, why does Thoreau leave Walden? Does he himself provide or imply an adequate answer?

3. Discuss Thoreau's ideas about living simply, without material luxuries. Do his ideas still apply? Is the kind of freedom and self-reliance Thoreau sought possible in societies other than the America of Thoreau's time? Is it possible in America today?

4. In the essay "Nature," Thoreau writes: "I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil-to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society." Discuss the meaning of this statement, and Thoreau's relationship to nature, one of the great themes running through all of his work, as both "absolute freedom and wildness," and as something that has, for Thoreau, definite spiritual associations. What is to be gained by living as "part and parcel of Nature?" What is given up? Discuss other writers you've read that might be said to record similar attitudes toward nature.

5. The essay "Civil Disobedience" proved to be one of the most admired essays ever written; it influenced Martin Luther King, Jr., and Gandhi, among others. In it, Thoreau distinguishes between "the law," and "the right," and here as elsewhere takes strong issue with government injustice, and even government altogether. In the essay's first paragraph he writes, "That government is best which governs not at all," and elsewhere, "Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison." Still elsewhere, he writes, "I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion." Discuss Thoreau's attitude toward government, politics, and morality, in "Civil Disobedience" and elsewhere in his writings.

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