This biography of Henry Thoreau offers insight into his social activism, his interest in fine arts, William Gilpin and John Ruskin's influence on his nature writing, and his involvement in, and influence by, the Agassiz-Darwin debate over "The Origin of Species."
“Walden. Yesterday I came here to live.” That entry from the journal of Henry David Thoreau, and the intellectual journey it began, would by themselves be enough to place Thoreau in the American pantheon. His attempt to “live deliberately” in a small woods at the edge of his hometown of Concord has been a touchstone for individualists and seekers since the publication of Walden in 1854. But there was much more to Thoreau than his brief experiment in living at Walden Pond. A member of the vibrant intellectual circle centered on his neighbor Ralph Waldo Emerson, he was also an ardent naturalist, a manual laborer and inventor, a radical political activist, and more. Many books have taken up various aspects of Thoreau’s character and achievements, but, as Laura Dassow Walls writes, “Thoreau has never been captured between covers; he was too quixotic, mischievous, many-sided.” Two hundred years after his birth, and two generations after the last full-scale biography, Walls restores Henry David Thoreau to us in all his profound, inspiring complexity. Walls traces the full arc of Thoreau’s life, from his early days in the intellectual hothouse of Concord, when the American experiment still felt fresh and precarious, and “America was a family affair, earned by one generation and about to pass to the next.” By the time he died in 1862, at only forty-four years of age, Thoreau had witnessed the transformation of his world from a community of farmers and artisans into a bustling, interconnected commercial nation. What did that portend for the contemplative individual and abundant, wild nature that Thoreau celebrated? Drawing on Thoreau’s copious writings, published and unpublished, Walls presents a Thoreau vigorously alive in all his quirks and contradictions: the young man shattered by the sudden death of his brother; the ambitious Harvard College student; the ecstatic visionary who closed Walden with an account of the regenerative power of the Cosmos. We meet the man whose belief in human freedom and the value of labor made him an uncompromising abolitionist; the solitary walker who found society in nature, but also found his own nature in the society of which he was a deeply interwoven part. And, running through it all, Thoreau the passionate naturalist, who, long before the age of environmentalism, saw tragedy for future generations in the human heedlessness around him. “The Thoreau I sought was not in any book, so I wrote this one,” says Walls. The result is a Thoreau unlike any seen since he walked the streets of Concord, a Thoreau for our time and all time.
Henry David Thoreau built a log cabin in the Concord Forest in Massachusetts in 1845. Thoreau lived there for two years to try out an alternative to the hectic and economically successful everyday life. The reason: He wanted to consciously feel life in harmony with nature again. The minimalist lifestyle should create space and time for the essentials. Thoreau kept a diary about his feelings and experiences during his time in the forest. This book arose from his notes. It deals with his everyday problems, with economic and philosophical considerations, with the feeling of loneliness, with the animals of the forest, with the seasons and with the reading of classical works.
The writings of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) have captivated scholars, activists, and ecologists for more than a century. Less attention has been paid, however, to the author's political philosophy and its influence on American public life. Although Thoreau's doctrine of civil disobedience has long since become a touchstone of world history, the greater part of his political legacy has been overlooked. With a resurgence of interest in recent years, A Political Companion to Henry David Thoreau is the first volume focused exclusively on Thoreau's ethical and political thought. Jack Turner illuminates the unexamined aspects of Thoreau's political life and writings. Combining both new and classic essays, this book offers a fresh and comprehensive understanding of Thoreau's politics, and includes discussions of subjects ranging from his democratic individualism to the political relevance of his intellectual eccentricity. The collection consists of works by sixteen prominent political theorists and includes an extended bibliography on Thoreau's politics. A Political Companion to Henry David Thoreau is a landmark reference for anyone seeking a better understanding of Thoreau's complex political philosophy.
The largest one-volume edition of the American thinker's journals ever published captures the scope, rhythms, and variety of the work as a whole, exploring the source from which Thoreau drew his timeless books and essays. Original.
Taking an interdisciplinary approach, An Introduction to Global Studies presents readers with a solid introduction to the complex, interconnected forces and issues confronting today's globalized world. Introduces readers to major theories, key terms, concepts, and notable theorists Equips readers with the basic knowledge and conceptual tools necessary for thinking critically about the complex issues facing the global community Includes a variety of supplemental features to facilitate learning and enhance readers' understanding of the material
This title explores the religious nature of ""Thoreau's Journal"". Most people who care about nature cannot help but use religious language to describe their experience of it. We can trace many of these conceptions of nature and holiness directly to influential nineteenth-century writers, especially Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). In Walden, he writes that 'God himself culminates in the present moment', and that in nature we encounter, 'the workman whose work we are'. But what were the sources of his religious convictions about the meaning of nature in human life? As the most comprehensive study of Thoreau's spirituality from a Christian perspective, ""The Spiritual Journal of Henry David Thoreau"" is the first to seriously examine connections between Thoreau's religious practices and those of his Protestant forebears. While a few writers have considered the relation between Thoreau's thought and Christian doctrine, this book instead outlines the links between Thoreau's religious practices (such as keeping a spiritual journal, studying nature, and walking) and those of earlier New England Protestants. This work is also the first study to compare his journal with the spiritual journals of prominent Puritans, Anglicans, Methodists, and Quakers. It is also one of the first books to treat spiritual journals as a distinct literary genre, while comparing theological expectations of nature ranging from the American Puritan Jonathan Edwards to nineteenth-century Romantic walkers and Thoreau's fellow Transcendentalists.
Henry David Thoreau wrote extensively on love, friendship, creativity, spirituality and wisdom. This book draws from his writings to offer unusual insights on living a life of meaning, creativity and reverence. Roderick MacIver's full-color wild nature watercolors enhance this wonderful collection.
As an essayist, philosopher, ex-pencil manufacturer, notorious hermit, tax protester, and all-around original thinker, Thoreau led so singular a life that he is in some ways a perfect candidate for the historical and biographical treatments made possible by the Historical Guides to American Authors series format. William E. Cain, the volume editor, includes contributions on his relationship with 19th century authority and concepts of the land, which should help the volume's reach beyond those who read Thoreau for illumination to those general readers who love him for embodying the spirit of American rebellion.