WALDEN (The Nook Special Classic Edition) by HENRY DAVID THOREAU Walden, or a Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau Author of Civil Disobedience [Personal Inspiration for Gandhi and Martin Luther King] Transcendentalist Philosophy Transcendentalism

WALDEN (The Nook Special Classic Edition) by HENRY DAVID THOREAU Walden, or a Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau Author of Civil Disobedience [Personal Inspiration for Gandhi and Martin Luther King] Transcendentalist Philosophy Transcendentalism

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Overview

Walden is an American book written by noted Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self reliance.

Published in 1854, it details Thoreau's experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts.

By immersing himself in nature, Thoreau hoped to gain a more objective understanding of society through personal introspection. Simple living and self-sufficiency were Thoreau's other goals, and the whole project was inspired by transcendentalist philosophy, a central theme of the American Romantic Period. As Thoreau made clear in his book, his cabin was not in wilderness but at the edge of town, about two miles (3 km) from his family home.

Thoreau's intention 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?" He thought of it as an experiment in "home economics". 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. He went through eight different drafts over the course of almost ten years. Walden was a moderate success when it was first published in 1854. It sold well and was received favourably among reviewers.

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." Without resolution, Thoreau used "his retreat to the woods as a way of framing a reflection on both what ails men and women in their contemporary condition and what might provide relief."

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. That the book is not simply a criticism of society, but also an attempt to engage creatively with the better aspects of contemporary culture, is suggested both by Thoreau's proximity to Concord society and by his admiration for classical literature.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013467811
Publisher: Ralph Waldo Emerson | Henry David Thoreau Society
Publication date: 08/21/2011
Series: Ralph Waldo Emerson | Henry David Thoreau Society , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 263,842
File size: 409 KB

About the Author

Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau; July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.

Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions were his writings on natural history and philosophy, where he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close natural observation, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and "Yankee" love of practical detail. He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life's true essential needs.

He was a lifelong abolitionist, delivering lectures that attacked the Fugitive Slave Law while praising the writings of Wendell Phillips and defending abolitionist John Brown. Thoreau's philosophy of civil disobedience influenced the political thoughts and actions of such later figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thoreau is sometimes cited as an individualist anarchist. Though Civil Disobedience seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government – "I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government" – the direction of this improvement points toward anarchism: "'That government is best which governs not at all;' and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."

Date of Birth:

July 12, 1817

Date of Death:

May 6, 1862

Place of Birth:

Concord, Massachusetts

Place of Death:

Concord, Massachusetts

Education:

Concord Academy, 1828-33); Harvard University, 1837

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WALDEN (The Nook Special Classic Edition) by HENRY DAVID THOREAU Walden, or a Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau Author of Civil Disobedience [P 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of all the books and treatises that have ever been published since our country's founding, this one stands heads and shoulders above everything else. In this volume, Thoreau beautifully articulates all that is great about America ... not its guns and armies, but rather its trees and forests, the quite meditations possible in unspoilt nature, and the philosophy of self reliance. This is, as far as I am concerned, THE best American book EVER written, and is absolutely essential reading for anyone who wants to know about America.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best American classic edition of Henry David Throeau's classic text. A true joy to read. Highly recommended for all ages.