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Have a question about Thoreau? !

Henry David Thoreau lived for two years, two months, and two days by Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. His time in Walden Woods became a model of deliberate and ethical living. His words and deeds continue to inspire millions around the world who seek solutions to critical environmental and societal challenges.

Henry David Thoreau - Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia will be available on

But, if I deny the authority of the State when itpresents its tax bill, it will soon take and waste all myproperty, and so harass me and my children without end.

— Have a question about Thoreau? Ask our resident Thoreau scholar!

Example: Thoreau asks, "Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?"

Walden's exquisite descriptions of natural life, with an attention to species-specific detail (and boy, do we mean detail), show us a richness of natural diversity that corresponds to the varieties of human experience. If we could just break out of our habits of conformity and prejudice, Thoreau thinks, the possibilities for living would be endless.

Example: Thoreau suggests the consequences of making ourselves slaves to progress when he says, "We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us."

Thoreau's Walden - an annotated edition

Example: According to Thoreau, "We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us."

Example: In "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For," Thoreau states directly his purpose for going into the woods when he says, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817, in Concord, Massachusetts. He began writing nature poetry in the 1840s, with poet Ralph Waldo Emerson as a mentor and friend. In 1845 he began his famous two-year stay on Walden Pond, which he wrote about in his master work, Walden. He also became known for his beliefs in Transcendentalism and civil disobedience, and was a dedicated abolitionist.

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essay on Walden - The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau

One of America's most famous writers, Henry David Thoreau is remembered for his philosophical and naturalist writings. He was born and raised in Concord, Massachusetts, along with his older siblings John and Helen and younger sister Sophia. His father operated a local pencil factory, and his mother rented out parts of the family's home to boarders.

The Walden Woods Project’s Thoreau Institute Library

Thoreau's refusal to be buttonholed is characteristic of this "wild child" of the American Transcendentalists. The – proto-hippies, you might say – were a group of writers and thinkers based in Concord, Massachusetts, in the mid-19th century. The leader of the pack was actually Thoreau's pal , who happened to loan him the land by Walden Pond where Thoreau would ultimately commence his personal experiment. Emerson expressed his Transcendentalist philosophy in famous essays like (1836) and "" (1841), where he promoted such values as individualism, freedom from conformity, and nature as a source of spiritual renewal for mankind.

Civil Disobedience (Thoreau) - Wikipedia

So what distinguishes Thoreau from Emerson? Well, for the Walden author, it is nature, not man, that takes center stage. Thoreau is often known as the first environmentalist or ecologist. Sure, there were already nature conservationist movements at the time, but Thoreau's Walden (first published as Walden; or Life in the Woods in 1854) was one of the earliest attempts to present these ideas as a coherent philosophy. He embraces the wildness of nature for its own sake and argues that man is obligated to conserve nature – total tree hugger.

Henry David Thoreau - Wikipedia

Covering the years 1845-1847, Walden explores Thoreau's life in an isolated cabin, with the barest of necessities. ("" – go ahead and sing it. We'll wait… Okay, ready?) In the book, Thoreau does a lot of observing, watching, and ruminating on nature and its seasonal changes. But he also takes it one step further. He uses his vast knowledge of philosophical and religious texts to turn these observations into answers. In particular, he answers the most universal of questions: what is a good life, and how should we live?

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau - Dial …

Henry David Thoreau lived in the mid-nineteenth century during turbulent times in America. He said he was born "in the nick of time" in Concord, Massachusetts, during the flowering of America when the transcendental movement was taking root and when the anti-slavery movement was rapidly gaining momentum. His contemporaries and neighbors were Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, and his mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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