Henry David Thoreau

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Henry David Thoreau
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|birth_place = Concord, Massachusetts, US18620607|12}}|death_place = Concord, Massachusetts, US|signature = Henry David Thoreau Signature SVG.svg|school_tradition = Transcendentalism|alma_mater = Harvard CollegeEthicsPoetry>ReligionPolitics>BiologyPhilosophy>History}}Abolitionism in the United States>tax resistancedevelopment criticism>civil disobedienceconscientious objector>conscientious objectiondirect action>environmentalismanarchism>simple living}}Indian philosophyAristotle>HomerAeschylus>PindarCato the Elder>Ralph Waldo EmersonThomas Carlyle>Charles DarwinAlexander von HumboldtSEELINGERTITLE=STOLEN FIRE: AESCHYLEAN IMAGERY AND THOREAU'S IDENTIFICATION OF THE GRAIUS HOMO OF LUCRETIUS WITH PROMETHEUS VOLUME=14 URL=HTTP://SHT.UT.EE/INDEX.PHP/SHT/ARTICLE/VIEW/14.A.2, 21 January 2019, }}Mahatma GandhiJohn F. Kennedy>Martin Luther King, Jr.Walt Whitman>Leo TolstoyMarcel Proust>W. B. YeatsSinclair Lewis>Ernest HemingwayUpton Sinclair>Emma GoldmanE. B. White>E. O. WilsonB. F. Skinner>George Bernard ShawJohn Zerzan>John Muir}}}}Henry David Thoreau (see name pronunciation; July 12, 1817 â€“ May 6, 1862) was an American essayist, poet, and philosopher.WEB, Henry David Thoreau {{!, Biography & Works |url= |website=Encyclopedia Britannica |language=en}} A leading transcendentalist,Howe, Daniel Walker, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848. {{ISBN|978-0-19-507894-7}}, p. 623. Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay "Civil Disobedience" (originally published as "Resistance to Civil Government"), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry amount to more than 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy, in which he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern-day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close observation of nature, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and Yankee attention to practical detail.Thoreau, Henry David. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers / Walden / The Maine Woods / Cape Cod. Library of America. {{ISBN|0-940450-27-5}}. 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 the abolitionist John Brown. Thoreau's philosophy of civil disobedience later influenced the political thoughts and actions of such notable figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr.Thoreau is sometimes referred to as an anarchist.Seligman, Edwin Robert Anderson; Johnson, Alvin Saunders, eds. (1937). Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, p. 12.Gross, David, ed. The Price of Freedom: Political Philosophy from Thoreau's Journals. p. 8. {{ISBN|978-1-4348-0552-2}}. "The Thoreau of these journals distrusted doctrine, and, though it is accurate I think to call him an anarchist, he was by no means doctrinaire in this either." 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"Thoreau, H. D. "Resistance to Civil Government".—the direction of this improvement contrarily 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."

Pronunciation of his name

Amos Bronson Alcott and Thoreau's aunt each wrote that "Thoreau" is pronounced like the word thorough ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|θ|ʌr|oʊ}} {{respell|THURR|oh}}—in General American,THUR-oh or Thor-OH? And How Do We Know? Thoreau Reader.Thoreau's Walden, under the sidebar "Pronouncing Thoreau". but more precisely {{IPAc-en|ˈ|θ|ɔːr|oʊ}} {{respell|THOR|oh}}—in 19th-century New England). Edward Waldo Emerson wrote that the name should be pronounced "Thó-row", with the h sounded and stress on the first syllable.See the note on pronouncing the name at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods. Among modern-day American English speakers, it is perhaps more commonly pronounced {{IPAc-en|θ|ə|ˈ|r|oʊ}} {{respell|thə|ROH}}—with stress on the second syllable.DICTIONARY, Thoreau,, 2013,weblink Wells, J. C. (1990) Pronunciation Dictionary, s.v. "Thoreau". Essex, U.K.: Longman.

Physical appearance

Thoreau had a distinctive appearance, with a nose that he called his "most prominent feature".BOOK, Cape Cod, Thoreau, Henry David, 1865, Chapter 10-A. Provincetown,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 2017-08-22, dead, Of his appearance and disposition, Ellery Channing wrote:WEB,weblink The Days of Henry Thoreau, Harding, Walter,, His face, once seen, could not be forgotten. The features were quite marked: the nose aquiline or very Roman, like one of the portraits of Caesar (more like a beak, as was said); large overhanging brows above the deepest set blue eyes that could be seen, in certain lights, and in others gray,—eyes expressive of all shades of feeling, but never weak or near-sighted; the forehead not unusually broad or high, full of concentrated energy and purpose; the mouth with prominent lips, pursed up with meaning and thought when silent, and giving out when open with the most varied and unusual instructive sayings.


Early life and education, 1817–1837

File:Wheeler-Minot Farmhouse, Concord MA.jpg|thumb|Thoreau's birthplace, the Wheeler-Minot Farmhouse in Concord, MassachusettsConcord, MassachusettsHenry David Thoreau was born David Henry ThoreauNelson, Randy F. (1981). The Almanac of American Letters. Los Altos, California: William Kaufmann. p. 51. {{ISBN|0-86576-008-X}}. in Concord, Massachusetts, into the "modest New England family"McElroy, Wendy (2005-07-30) "Henry David Thoreau and 'Civil Disobedience'". of John Thoreau, a pencil maker, and Cynthia Dunbar. His paternal grandfather had been born on the UK crown dependency island of Jersey.WEB,weblink RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: Ancestors of Mary Ann Gillam and Stephen Old, His maternal grandfather, Asa Dunbar, led Harvard's 1766 student "Butter Rebellion",History of the Fraternity System {{webarchive|url= |date=July 4, 2009 }}. the first recorded student protest in the American colonies.WEB,weblink First Student Protest in the United States, {{dead link|date=December 2017 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} David Henry was named after his recently deceased paternal uncle, David Thoreau. He began to call himself Henry David after he finished college; he never petitioned to make a legal name change.Henry David Thoreau {{webarchive|url= |date=October 31, 2006 }}, "Meet the Writers." Barnes & He had two older siblings, Helen and John Jr., and a younger sister, Sophia Thoreau.Biography of Henry David Thoreau. None of the children married. Helen (1812–1849) died at age 36 years, from tuberculosis. John Jr. (1815–1842) died at age 27, of tetanus. Henry David (1817–1862) died at age 44, of tuberculosis. Sophia (1819–1876) survived him by 14 years, dying at age 57 years, of tuberculosis.{{Citation needed|date=September 2019}}Thoreau's birthplace still exists on Virginia Road in Concord. The house has been restored by the Thoreau Farm Trust,WEB, Thoreau Farm,,weblink a nonprofit organization, and is now open to the public. He studied at Harvard College between 1833 and 1837. He lived in Hollis Hall and took courses in rhetoric, classics, philosophy, mathematics, and science.{{citation needed|date=June 2014}} He was a member of the Institute of 1770WEB,weblink Organizations Thoreau Joined, Thoreau Society, June 26, 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink May 3, 2013, mdy-all, (now the Hasty Pudding Club). According to legend, Thoreau refused to pay the five-dollar fee (approximately {{inflation|US|5|1840|fmt=eq}}) for a Harvard diploma. In fact, the master's degree he declined to purchase had no academic merit: Harvard College offered it to graduates "who proved their physical worth by being alive three years after graduating, and their saving, earning, or inheriting quality or condition by having Five Dollars to give the college"."Thoreau's Diploma". American Literature. Vol. 17, May 1945. pp. 174–75. He commented, "Let every sheep keep its own skin",WEB, Walter Harding,weblink Live Your Own Life, Geneseo Summer Compass, June 4, 1984, November 21, 2009,weblink" title="">weblink 2006-01-29, a reference to the tradition of using sheepskin vellum for diplomas.

Return to Concord, 1837–1844

The traditional professions open to college graduates—law, the church, business, medicine—did not interest Thoreau,Sattelmeyer, Robert (1988). Thoreau's Reading: A Study in Intellectual History with Bibliographical Catalogue. Chapter 2 {{webarchive|url= |date=September 8, 2015 }}. Princeton: Princeton University Press.{{Rp|25}} so in 1835 he took a leave of absence from Harvard, during which he taught school in Canton, Massachusetts. After he graduated in 1837, he joined the faculty of the Concord public school, but he resigned after a few weeks rather than administer corporal punishment.{{Rp|25}} He and his brother John then opened the Concord Academy, a grammar school in Concord, in 1838.{{Rp|25}} They introduced several progressive concepts, including nature walks and visits to local shops and businesses. The school closed when John became fatally ill from tetanus in 1842 after cutting himself while shaving.Dean, Bradley P. "A Thoreau Chronology".JOURNAL, 3817844, Barzillai Frost's Funeral Sermon on the Death of John Thoreau Jr., Huntington Library Quarterly, 1994, Myerson, Joel, He died in Henry's arms.Woodlief, Ann. "Henry David Thoreau".Upon graduation Thoreau returned home to Concord, where he met Ralph Waldo Emerson through a mutual friend. Emerson, who was 14 years his senior, took a paternal and at times patron-like interest in Thoreau, advising the young man and introducing him to a circle of local writers and thinkers, including Ellery Channing, Margaret Fuller, Bronson Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne and his son Julian Hawthorne, who was a boy at the time.Emerson urged Thoreau to contribute essays and poems to a quarterly periodical, The Dial, and lobbied the editor, Margaret Fuller, to publish those writings. Thoreau's first essay published in The Dial was "Aulus Persius Flaccus",WEB,weblink Aulus Persius Flaccus,weblink" title="">weblink September 25, 2012, dead, an essay on the Roman playwright, in July 1840.WEB,weblink's_Life_and_Writings:_The_Research_Collections/The_Dial, The Dial,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink October 18, 2015, mdy-all, It consisted of revised passages from his journal, which he had begun keeping at Emerson's suggestion. The first journal entry, on October 22, 1837, reads, "'What are you doing now?' he asked. 'Do you keep a journal?' So I make my first entry to-day."Thoreau, Henry David (2007). I to Myself: An Annotated Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau. Jeffrey S. Cramer, ed. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 1.Thoreau was a philosopher of nature and its relation to the human condition. In his early years he followed Transcendentalism, a loose and eclectic idealist philosophy advocated by Emerson, Fuller, and Alcott. They held that an ideal spiritual state transcends, or goes beyond, the physical and empirical, and that one achieves that insight via personal intuition rather than religious doctrine. In their view, Nature is the outward sign of inward spirit, expressing the "radical correspondence of visible things and human thoughts", as Emerson wrote in Nature (1836).File:Thoreau1967stamp.jpg|thumb|right|1967 U.S. postage stamp honoring Thoreau, designed by Leonard BaskinLeonard BaskinOn April 18, 1841, Thoreau moved into the Emerson house.Cheever, Susan (2006). American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau; Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work. Detroit: Thorndike Press. p. 90. {{ISBN|0-7862-9521-X}}. There, from 1841 to 1844, he served as the children's tutor; he was also an editorial assistant, repairman and gardener. For a few months in 1843, he moved to the home of William Emerson on Staten Island,BOOK, The Life of Henry David Thoreau, Salt, H. S., 1890, Richard Bentley & Son, London,weblink 69, and tutored the family's sons while seeking contacts among literary men and journalists in the city who might help publish his writings, including his future literary representative Horace Greeley.Sanborn, F. B., ed. (1906). The Writings of Henry David Thoreau. Vol. VI, Familiar Letters. Chapter 1, "Years of Discipline" {{webarchive|url= |date=September 7, 2015 }}. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.{{Rp|68}}Thoreau returned to Concord and worked in his family's pencil factory, which he would continue to do alongside his writing and other work for most of his adult life. He rediscovered the process of making good pencils with inferior graphite by using clay as the binder.BOOK,weblink The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, Petroski, Henry, Knopf, 1992, 9780679734154, New York, 104–125, This invention allowed profitable use of a graphite source found in New Hampshire that had been purchased in 1821 by Thoreau's brother-in-law, Charles Dunbar. The process of mixing graphite and clay, known as the Conté process, had been first patented by Nicolas-Jacques Conté in 1795. The company's other source of graphite had been Tantiusques, a mine operated by Native Americans in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Later, Thoreau converted the pencil factory to produce plumbago, a name for graphite at the time, which was used in the electrotyping process.Conrad, Randall. (Fall 2005). "Machine in the Wetland: Re-imagining Thoreau's Plumbago-Grinder". Thoreau Society Bulletin {{webarchive|url= |date=December 23, 2007 }} 253.Once back in Concord, Thoreau went through a restless period. In April 1844 he and his friend Edward Hoar accidentally set a fire that consumed {{convert|300|acre|km2}} of Walden Woods.A Chronology of Thoreau's Life, with Events of the Times {{Webarchive|url= |date=February 13, 2016 }}. The Thoreau Project, Calliope Film Resources. Accessed June 11, 2007.

"Civil Disobedience" and the Walden years, 1845–1850

(File:Thoreau sites in Walden Pond.svg|thumb|left|Thoreau sites at Walden Pond).}}Thoreau felt a need to concentrate and work more on his writing. In March 1845, Ellery Channing told Thoreau, "Go out upon that, build yourself a hut, & there begin the grand process of devouring yourself alive. I see no other alternative, no other hope for you."Packer, 1833. Two months later, Thoreau embarked on a two-year experiment in simple living on July 4, 1845, when he moved to a small house he had built on land owned by Emerson in a second-growth forest around the shores of Walden Pond. The house was in "a pretty pasture and woodlot" of {{convert|14|acre|m2}} that Emerson had bought,Richardson. Emerson: The Mind on Fire. p. 399. {{convert|1.5|mi|km}} from his family home.WEB,weblink Google Maps, (File:Walden Thoreau.jpg|thumb|Original title page of Walden, with an illustration from a drawing by Thoreau's sister Sophia)On July 24 or July 25, 1846, Thoreau ran into the local tax collector, Sam Staples, who asked him to pay six years of delinquent poll taxes. Thoreau refused because of his opposition to the Mexican–American War and slavery, and he spent a night in jail because of this refusal. The next day Thoreau was freed when someone, likely to have been his aunt, paid the tax, against his wishes.Rosenwald, Lawrence. "The Theory, Practice and Influence of Thoreau's Civil Disobedience". William Cain, ed. (2006). A Historical Guide to Henry David Thoreau. Cambridge: Oxford University Press. {{Webarchive|url=|date=October 14, 2013|title=Archived}} The experience had a strong impact on Thoreau. In January and February 1848, he delivered lectures on "The Rights and Duties of the Individual in relation to Government",Thoreau, H. D., letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson, February 23, 1848. explaining his tax resistance at the Concord Lyceum. Bronson Alcott attended the lecture, writing in his journal on January 26:Thoreau revised the lecture into an essay titled "Resistance to Civil Government" (also known as "Civil Disobedience"). It was published by Elizabeth Peabody in the Aesthetic Papers in May 1849. Thoreau had taken up a version of Percy Shelley's principle in the political poem "The Mask of Anarchy" (1819), which begins with the powerful images of the unjust forms of authority of his time and then imagines the stirrings of a radically new form of social action.WEB,weblink, dead,weblink" title="">weblink January 5, 2011, mdy-all, At Walden Pond, Thoreau completed a first draft of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, an elegy to his brother John, describing their trip to the White Mountains in 1839. Thoreau did not find a publisher for the book and instead printed 1,000 copies at his own expense; fewer than 300 were sold.{{Rp|234}} He self-published the book on the advice of Emerson, using Emerson's publisher, Munroe, who did little to publicize the book.{{multiple image
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In August 1846, Thoreau briefly left Walden to make a trip to Mount Katahdin in Maine, a journey later recorded in "Ktaadn", the first part of The Maine Woods.Thoreau left Walden Pond on September 6, 1847.{{Rp|244}} At Emerson's request, he immediately moved back to the Emerson house to help Emerson's wife, Lidian, manage the household while her husband was on an extended trip to Europe.WEB,weblink, dead,weblink" title="">weblink November 29, 2010, mdy-all, Over several years, as he worked to pay off his debts, he continuously revised the manuscript of what he eventually published as Walden, or Life in the Woods in 1854, recounting the two years, two months, and two days he had spent at Walden Pond. The book compresses that time into a single calendar year, using the passage of the four seasons to symbolize human development. Part memoir and part spiritual quest, Walden at first won few admirers, but later critics have regarded it as a classic American work that explores natural simplicity, harmony, and beauty as models for just social and cultural conditions.The American poet Robert Frost wrote of Thoreau, "In one book ... he surpasses everything we have had in America."Frost, Robert (1968). Letter to Wade Van Dore, June 24, 1922, in Twentieth Century Interpretations of Walden. Richard Ruland, ed. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall. p. 8. {{LCCN|6814480}}.The American author John Updike said of the book, "A century and a half after its publication, Walden has become such a totem of the back-to-nature, preservationist, anti-business, civil-disobedience mindset, and Thoreau so vivid a protester, so perfect a crank and hermit saint, that the book risks being as revered and unread as the Bible."Updike, John (2004). "A Sage for All Seasons". The Guardian.Thoreau moved out of Emerson's house in July 1848 and stayed at a house on nearby Belknap Street. In 1850, he and his family moved into a house at 255 Main Street, where he lived until his death.Ehrlich, Eugene; Carruth, Gorton (1982). The Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to the United States. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 45. {{ISBN|0-19-503186-5}}.In the summer of 1850, Thoreau and Channing journeyed from Boston to Montreal and Quebec City. These would be Thoreau's only travels outside the United States.JOURNAL, Weisman, Adam Paul, Postcolonialism in North America: Imaginative Colonization in Henry David Thoreau's "A Yankee in Canada" and Jacques Poulin's "Volkswagen Blues", The Massachusetts Review, Autumn 1995, 36, 3, 478–479, It is as a result of this trip that he developed lectures that eventually became A Yankee in Canada. He jested that all he got from this adventure "was a cold".BOOK, Thoreau, Henry David, A Yankee in Canada,weblink registration, 1961, Harvest House, Montreal, 13, In fact, this proved an opportunity to contrast American civic spirit and democratic values with a colony apparently ruled by illegitimate religious and military power. Whereas his own country had had its revolution, in Canada history had failed to turn.JOURNAL, Lacroix, Patrick, Finding Thoreau in French Canada: The Ideological Legacy of the American Revolution, American Review of Canadian Studies, Fall 2017, 47, 3, 266–279, 10.1080/02722011.2017.1370719,

Later years, 1851–1862

(File:VII. Rowse.jpg|thumb|Thoreau in 1854)In 1851, Thoreau became increasingly fascinated with natural history and narratives of travel and expedition. He read avidly on botany and often wrote observations on this topic into his journal. He admired William Bartram and Charles Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle. He kept detailed observations on Concord's nature lore, recording everything from how the fruit ripened over time to the fluctuating depths of Walden Pond and the days certain birds migrated. The point of this task was to "anticipate" the seasons of nature, in his word.Letters to H. G. O. Blake {{webarchive|url= |date=June 17, 2011 }}. Walden.orgThoreau, Henry David (1862). "Autumnal Tints". The Atlantic Monthly, October. pp. 385–402. Reprint {{webarchive|url= |date=March 7, 2010 }}. Retrieved November 21, 2009.He became a land surveyor and continued to write increasingly detailed observations on the natural history of the town, covering an area of {{convert|26|sqmi|km2}}, in his journal, a two-million-word document he kept for 24 years. He also kept a series of notebooks, and these observations became the source of his late writings on natural history, such as "Autumnal Tints", "The Succession of Trees", and "Wild Apples", an essay lamenting the destruction of indigenous wild apple species.With the rise of environmental history and ecocriticism as academic disciplines, several new readings of Thoreau began to emerge, showing him to have been both a philosopher and an analyst of ecological patterns in fields and woodlots.BOOK, Thorson, Robert M., Walden's Shore: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century Science, December 6, 2013, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 978-0674724785, NEWS, Primack, Richard B., Tracking Climate Change with the Help of Henry David Thoreau,weblink 23 September 2015, June 13, 2013, For instance, "The Succession of Forest Trees", shows that he used experimentation and analysis to explain how forests regenerate after fire or human destruction, through the dispersal of seeds by winds or animals. In this lecture, first presented to a cattle show in Concord, and considered his greatest contribution to ecology, Thoreau explained why one species of tree can grow in a place where a different tree did previously. He observed that squirrels often carry nuts far from the tree from which they fell to create stashes. These seeds are likely to germinate and grow should the squirrel die or abandon the stash. He credited the squirrel for performing a "great service ... in the economy of the universe." BOOK, Worster, Donald, Nature's Economy, 1977, Cambridge University, New York, New York, 0-521-45273-2, 69–71, File:Walden Pond, 2010.jpg|thumb|left|Walden PondWalden PondHe traveled to Canada East once, Cape Cod four times, and Maine three times; these landscapes inspired his "excursion" books, A Yankee in Canada, Cape Cod, and The Maine Woods, in which travel itineraries frame his thoughts about geography, history and philosophy. Other travels took him southwest to Philadelphia and New York City in 1854 and west across the Great Lakes region in 1861, when he visited Niagara Falls, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Mackinac Island.Thoreau, Henry David (1970). The Annotated Walden. Philip Van Doren Stern, ed. pp. 96, 132. He was provincial in his own travels, but he read widely about travel in other lands. He devoured all the first-hand travel accounts available in his day, at a time when the last unmapped regions of the earth were being explored. He read Magellan and James Cook; the arctic explorers John Franklin, Alexander Mackenzie and William Parry; David Livingstone and Richard Francis Burton on Africa; Lewis and Clark; and hundreds of lesser-known works by explorers and literate travelers.Christie, John Aldrich (1965). Thoreau as World Traveler. New York: Columbia University Press. Astonishing amounts of reading fed his endless curiosity about the peoples, cultures, religions and natural history of the world and left its traces as commentaries in his voluminous journals. He processed everything he read, in the local laboratory of his Concord experience. Among his famous aphorisms is his advice to "live at home like a traveler".Letters of H. G. O. Blake {{webarchive|url= |date=June 17, 2011 }} in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection.After John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, many prominent voices in the abolitionist movement distanced themselves from Brown or damned him with faint praise. Thoreau was disgusted by this, and he composed a key speech, A Plea for Captain John Brown, which was uncompromising in its defense of Brown and his actions. Thoreau's speech proved persuasive: the abolitionist movement began to accept Brown as a martyr, and by the time of the American Civil War entire armies of the North were literally singing Brown's praises. As a biographer of Brown put it, "If, as Alfred Kazin suggests, without John Brown there would have been no Civil War, we would add that without the Concord Transcendentalists, John Brown would have had little cultural impact."Reynolds, David S. (2005). John Brown, Abolitionist. Knopf. p. 4.(File:Henry David Thoreau - Dunshee ambrotpe 1861.jpg|thumb|left|Thoreau in his second and final photographic sitting, August 1861)


Thoreau contracted tuberculosis in 1835 and suffered from it sporadically afterwards. In 1860, following a late-night excursion to count the rings of tree stumps during a rainstorm, he became ill with bronchitis.About Thoreau: Thoreau, the Man {{webarchive|url= |date=June 20, 2016 }}.Thoreau Chronology. His health declined, with brief periods of remission, and he eventually became bedridden. Recognizing the terminal nature of his disease, Thoreau spent his last years revising and editing his unpublished works, particularly The Maine Woods and Excursions, and petitioning publishers to print revised editions of A Week and Walden. He wrote letters and journal entries until he became too weak to continue. His friends were alarmed at his diminished appearance and were fascinated by his tranquil acceptance of death. When his aunt Louisa asked him in his last weeks if he had made his peace with God, Thoreau responded, "I did not know we had ever quarreled."BOOK, Simon, Critchley, The Book of Dead Philosophers,weblink 181, New York, Random House, 2009, 9780307472632, File:Grave of Henry David Thoreau.jpeg|thumb|Grave of Thoreau at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord]]Aware he was dying, Thoreau's last words were "Now comes good sailing", followed by two lone words, "moose" and "Indian".WEB,weblink The Writer's Almanac, American Public Media, June 1, 2017,weblink" title="">weblink July 8, 2017, dead, mdy-all, He died on May 6, 1862, at age 44. Amos Bronson Alcott planned the service and read selections from Thoreau's works, and Channing presented a hymn.Packer, Barbara L. (2007). The Transcendentalists. Athens: University of Georgia Press. p. 272. {{ISBN|978-0-8203-2958-1}}. Emerson wrote the eulogy spoken at the funeral.BOOK,weblink Emerson, Ralph Waldo, Thoreau, The Atlantic, August 1862, Thoreau was buried in the Dunbar family plot; his remains and those of members of his immediate family were eventually moved to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery ({{coord |42.464676| -71.342251| type:landmark| display=inline| format=dms }}) in Concord, Massachusetts.Thoreau's friend William Ellery Channing published his first biography, Thoreau the Poet-Naturalist, in 1873.{{citation needed|date=May 2018}} Channing and another friend, Harrison Blake, edited some poems, essays, and journal entries for posthumous publication in the 1890s. Thoreau's journals, which he often mined for his published works but which remained largely unpublished at his death, were first published in 1906 and helped to build his modern reputation.{{citation needed|date=May 2018}} A new, expanded edition of the journals is under way, published by Princeton University Press. Today, Thoreau is regarded as one of the foremost American writers, both for the modern clarity of his prose style and the prescience of his views on nature and politics. His memory is honored by the international Thoreau Society and his legacy honored by the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods, established in 1998 in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Nature and human existence

Thoreau was an early advocate of recreational hiking and canoeing, of conserving natural resources on private land, and of preserving wilderness as public land. He was himself a highly skilled canoeist; Nathaniel Hawthorne, after a ride with him, noted that "Mr. Thoreau managed the boat so perfectly, either with two paddles or with one, that it seemed instinct with his own will, and to require no physical effort to guide it."Nathaniel Hawthorne, Passages From the American Note-Books, entry for September 2, 1842.He was not a strict vegetarian, though he said he preferred that dietBrooks, Van Wyck. The Flowering of New England. New York: E. P. Dutton and Company, Inc., 1952. p. 310 and advocated it as a means of self-improvement. He wrote in Walden, "The practical objection to animal food in my case was its uncleanness; and besides, when I had caught and cleaned and cooked and eaten my fish, they seemed not to have fed me essentially. It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to. A little bread or a few potatoes would have done as well, with less trouble and filth."Cheever, Susan (2006). American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau; Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work. Detroit: Thorndike Press. Large print edition. p. 241. {{ISBN|0-7862-9521-X}}.(File:Thoreaus quote near his cabin site, Walden Pond.jpg|thumb|Thoreau's famous quotation, near his cabin site at Walden Pond)Thoreau neither rejected civilization nor fully embraced wilderness. Instead he sought a middle ground, the pastoral realm that integrates nature and culture. His philosophy required that he be a didactic arbitrator between the wilderness he based so much on and the spreading mass of humanity in North America. He decried the latter endlessly but felt that a teacher needs to be close to those who needed to hear what he wanted to tell them. The wildness he enjoyed was the nearby swamp or forest, and he preferred "partially cultivated country". His idea of being "far in the recesses of the wilderness" of Maine was to "travel the logger's path and the Indian trail", but he also hiked on pristine land. In the essay "Henry David Thoreau, Philosopher" Roderick Nash wrote, "Thoreau left Concord in 1846 for the first of three trips to northern Maine. His expectations were high because he hoped to find genuine, primeval America. But contact with real wilderness in Maine affected him far differently than had the idea of wilderness in Concord. Instead of coming out of the woods with a deepened appreciation of the wilds, Thoreau felt a greater respect for civilization and realized the necessity of balance."Nash, Roderick. Wilderness and the American Mind: Henry David Thoreau: Philosopher.Of alcohol, Thoreau wrote, "I would fain keep sober always. ... I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man; wine is not so noble a liquor. ... Of all ebriosity, who does not prefer to be intoxicated by the air he breathes?"


Thoreau never married and was childless. He strove to portray himself as an ascetic puritan. However, his sexuality has long been the subject of speculation, including by his contemporaries. Critics have called him heterosexual, homosexual, or asexual.BOOK,weblink Millennial Seduction, Quinby, Lee, 68, 978-0801486012, 1999, There is no evidence to suggest he had physical relations with anyone, man or woman. Some scholars have suggested that homoerotic sentiments run through his writings and concluded that he was homosexual.Harding, Walter (1991). "Thoreau's Sexuality". Journal of Homosexuality 21.3. pp. 23–45.BOOK, Bronski, Michael, A Queer History of the United States, Beacon Press, 2012, 978-0807044650, 50, A Queer History of the United States, Michael, Warner (1991). "Walden's Erotic Economy" in Comparative American Identities: Race, Sex and Nationality in the Modern Text. Hortense Spillers, ed. New York: Routledge. pp. 157–73. The elegy Sympathy was inspired by the eleven-year-old Edmund Sewell, with whom he hiked for five days in 1839.WEB, Robbins, Paula Ivaska, The Natural Thoreau, The Gay And Lesbian Review, September–October 2011,weblink One scholar has suggested that he wrote the poem to Edmund because he could not bring himself to write it to Edmund's sister,Richardson, Robert; Moser, Barry (1986). Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind. University of California Press. pp. 58–63. and another that Thoreau's "emotional experiences with women are memorialized under a camouflage of masculine pronouns",Canby, Henry Seidel (1939). Thoreau. Houghton Mifflin. p. 117. but other scholars dismiss this.Katz, Jonathan Ned (1992). Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the USA. New York: Meridian. pp. 481–92. It has been argued that the long paean in Walden to the French-Canadian woodchopper Alek Therien, which includes allusions to Achilles and Patroclus, is an expression of conflicted desire.López, Robert Oscar (2007). "Thoreau, Homer and Community", in Henry David Thoreau. Harold Bloom, ed. New York: Infobase Publishing. pp. 153–74. In some of Thoreau's writing there is the sense of a secret self.Summers, Claude J The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage, Routledge, New York, 2002, p. 202 In 1840 he writes in his journal: "My friend is the apology for my life. In him are the spaces which my orbit traverses".Bergman, David, ed. (2009). Gay American Autobiography: Writings From Whitman to Sedaris. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 10 Thoreau was strongly influenced by the moral reformers of his time, and this may have instilled anxiety and guilt over sexual desire.Lebeaux, Richard (1984). Thoreau's Seasons. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 386, n. 31.


{{Green anarchism |expanded=People}}(File:John Brown - Treason broadside, 1859.png|thumb|left|John Brown "Treason" Broadside, 1859)Thoreau was fervently against slavery and actively supported the abolitionist movement. He participated{{how|date=July 2019}} in the Underground Railroad, delivered lectures that attacked the Fugitive Slave Law, and in opposition to the popular opinion of the time, supported radical abolitionist militia leader John Brown and his party.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Furtak, Rick, Henry David Thoreau,weblink The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 27 July 2013, Two weeks after the ill-fated raid on Harpers Ferry and in the weeks leading up to Brown's execution, Thoreau regularlyHow many times? delivered a speech to the citizens of Concord, Massachusetts, in which he compared the American government to Pontius Pilate and likened Brown's execution to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ:In The Last Days of John Brown, Thoreau described the words and deeds of John Brown as noble and an example of heroism.The Last Days of John Brown {{webarchive|url= |date=December 22, 2010 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection In addition, he lamented the newspaper editors who dismissed Brown and his scheme as "crazy".Thoreau was a proponent of limited government and individualism. Although he was hopeful that mankind could potentially have, through self-betterment, the kind of government which "governs not at all", he distanced himself from contemporary "no-government men" (anarchists), writing: "I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government."Thoreau deemed the evolution from absolute monarchy to limited monarchy to democracy as "a progress toward true respect for the individual" and theorized about further improvements "towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man". Echoing this belief, he went on to write: "There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly."It is on this basis that Thoreau could so strongly inveigh against British and Catholic power in A Yankee in Canada. Despotic authority had crushed the people's sense of ingenuity and enterprise; the Canadian habitants had been reduced, in his view, to a perpetual childlike state. Ignoring the recent Rebellions, he argued that there would be no revolution in the St. Lawrence River valley.BOOK, Thoreau, Henry David, A Yankee in Canada,weblink registration, 1961, Harvest House, Montreal, 105–107, Although Thoreau believed resistance to unjustly exercised authority could be both violent (exemplified in his support for John Brown) and nonviolent (his own example of tax resistance displayed in Resistance to Civil Government), he regarded pacifist nonresistance as temptation to passivity,The Service {{webarchive|url= |date=December 22, 2010 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection writing: "Let not our Peace be proclaimed by the rust on our swords, or our inability to draw them from their scabbards; but let her at least have so much work on her hands as to keep those swords bright and sharp." Furthermore, in a formal lyceum debate in 1841, he debated the subject "Is it ever proper to offer forcible resistance?", arguing the affirmative.Transcendental Ethos from The Thoreau ReaderLikewise, his condemnation of the Mexican–American War did not stem from pacifism, but rather because he considered Mexico "unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army" as a means to expand the slave territory.Thoreau was ambivalent towards industrialization and capitalism. On one hand he regarded commerce as "unexpectedly confident and serene, adventurous, and unwearied" and expressed admiration for its associated cosmopolitanism, writing:On the other hand, he wrote disparagingly of the factory system:Thoreau also favored bioregionalism, the protection of animals and wild areas, free trade, and taxation for schools and highways. He disapproved of the subjugation of Native Americans, slavery, technological utopianism, consumerism, philistinism, mass entertainment, and frivolous applications of technology.

Intellectual interests, influences, and affinities

Indian sacred texts and philosophy

Thoreau was influenced by Indian spiritual thought. In Walden, there are many overt references to the sacred texts of India. For example, in the first chapter ("Economy"), he writes: "How much more admirable the Bhagvat-Geeta than all the ruins of the East!" American Philosophy: An Encyclopedia classes him as one of several figures who "took a more pantheist or pandeist approach by rejecting views of God as separate from the world",BOOK, American Philosophy: An Encyclopedia, John Lachs and Robert Talisse, 2007, 978-0415939263, 310, also a characteristic of Hinduism.Furthermore, in "The Pond in Winter", he equates Walden Pond with the sacred Ganges river, writing:File:Bhagavata Gita Bishnupur Arnab Dutta 2011.JPG|thumb|right|Krishna teaching Arjuna from Bhagavata GitaBhagavata GitaThoreau was aware his Ganges imagery could have been factual. He wrote about ice harvesting at Walden Pond. And he knew that New England's ice merchants were shipping ice to foreign ports, including Calcutta.{{Citation needed|date=June 2019}}Additionally, Thoreau followed various Hindu customs, including following a diet of rice ("It was fit that I should live on rice, mainly, who loved so well the philosophy of India."), flute playing (reminiscent of the favorite musical pastime of Krishna), and yoga.{{Citation needed|date=June 2019}}In an 1849 letter to his friend H.G.O. Blake, he wrote about yoga and its meaning to him:


File:Eggs BSNH 1930.png|thumb|right|Bird eggs found by Thoreau and given to the Boston Society of Natural History. Those in the nest are of yellow warbler, the other two of red-tailed hawkred-tailed hawkThoreau read contemporary works in the new science of biology, including the works of Alexander von Humboldt, Charles Darwin, and Asa Gray (Charles Darwin's staunchest American ally). Thoreau was deeply influenced by Humboldt, especially his work Kosmos.Wulf, Andrea. The Invention of Nature: Alexander Humboldt's New World. New York: Alfred A. Knopf 2015, p. 250.In 1859, Thoreau purchased and read Darwin's On the Origin of Species. Unlike many natural historians at the time, including Louis Agassiz who publicly opposed Darwinism in favor of a static view of nature, Thoreau was immediately enthusiastic about the theory of evolution by natural selection and endorsed it,Cain, William E. A Historical Guide to Henry David Thoreau. {{ISBN|0195138635}}, p. 146. stating:, p. 52.}}


File:ThoreauBust.jpg|thumb|right|A bust of Thoreau from the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at the Bronx Community CollegeBronx Community College
by Ken Kifer, 2002}}
Thoreau's political writings had little impact during his lifetime, as "his contemporaries did not see him as a theorist or as a radical", viewing him instead as a naturalist. They either dismissed or ignored his political essays, including Civil Disobedience. The only two complete books (as opposed to essays) published in his lifetime, Walden and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), both dealt with nature, in which he "loved to wander". His obituary was lumped in with others rather than as a separate article in an 1862 yearbook.BOOK, Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862, 1863, D. Appleton & Company, New York, 666,weblink Nevertheless, Thoreau's writings went on to influence many public figures. Political leaders and reformers like Mohandas Gandhi, U.S. President John F. Kennedy, American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, and Russian author Leo Tolstoy all spoke of being strongly affected by Thoreau's work, particularly Civil Disobedience, as did "right-wing theorist Frank Chodorov [who] devoted an entire issue of his monthly, Analysis, to an appreciation of Thoreau".Rothbard, Murray. Confessions of a Right-Wing Liberal, Ramparts, VI, 4, June 15, 1968Thoreau also influenced many artists and authors including Edward Abbey, Willa Cather, Marcel Proust, William Butler Yeats, Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, Upton Sinclair,Maynard, W. Barksdale, Walden Pond: A History. Oxford University Press, 2005. p. 265 E. B. White, Lewis Mumford,Mumford, Lewis, The Golden Day: A Study in American Experience and Culture. Boni and Liveright, 1926. pp. 56–59, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander Posey,Posey, Alexander. Lost Creeks: Collected Journals. (Edited by Matthew Wynn Sivils) University of Nebraska Press, 2009. p. 38 and Gustav Stickley.Saunders, Barry. A Complex Fate: Gustav Stickley and the Craftsman Movement. Preservation Press, 1996. p. 4 Thoreau also influenced naturalists like John Burroughs, John Muir, E. O. Wilson, Edwin Way Teale, Joseph Wood Krutch, B. F. Skinner, David Brower, and Loren Eiseley, whom Publishers Weekly called "the modern Thoreau".Kifer, Ken Analysis and Notes on Walden: Henry Thoreau's Text with Adjacent Thoreauvian Commentary {{webarchive|url= |date=March 18, 2006 }} English writer Henry Stephens Salt wrote a biography of Thoreau in 1890, which popularized Thoreau's ideas in Britain: George Bernard Shaw, Edward Carpenter, and Robert Blatchford were among those who became Thoreau enthusiasts as a result of Salt's advocacy.Hendrick, George and Oehlschlaeger, Fritz (eds.) Toward the Making of Thoreau's Modern Reputation, University of Illinois Press, 1979. Mohandas Gandhi first read Walden in 1906 while working as a civil rights activist in Johannesburg, South Africa. He first read Civil Disobedience "while he sat in a South African prison for the crime of nonviolently protesting discrimination against the Indian population in the Transvaal. The essay galvanized Gandhi, who wrote and published a synopsis of Thoreau's argument, calling its 'incisive logic ... unanswerable' and referring to Thoreau as 'one of the greatest and most moral men America has produced'."McElroy, Wendy (2011-05-04) Here, the State Is Nowhere to Be Seen, Mises Institute"Although he was practicing civil disobedience before he read Thoreau's essay, Gandhi was quick to point out the debt he owed to Thoreau and other thinkers like him".Shawn Chandler Bingham, Thoreau and the sociological imagination : the wilds of society. Lanham, Md. : Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2008. {{ISBN|9780742560581}} p. 31. He told American reporter Webb Miller, "[Thoreau's] ideas influenced me greatly. I adopted some of them and recommended the study of Thoreau to all of my friends who were helping me in the cause of Indian Independence. Why I actually took the name of my movement from Thoreau's essay 'On the Duty of Civil Disobedience', written about 80 years ago."Miller, Webb. I Found No Peace. Garden City, 1938. 238–39Martin Luther King, Jr. noted in his autobiography that his first encounter with the idea of nonviolent resistance was reading "On Civil Disobedience" in 1944 while attending Morehouse College. He wrote in his autobiography that it was,Here, in this courageous New Englander's refusal to pay his taxes and his choice of jail rather than support a war that would spread slavery's territory into Mexico, I made my first contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance. Fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times. I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest. The teachings of Thoreau came alive in our civil rights movement; indeed, they are more alive than ever before. Whether expressed in a sit-in at lunch counters, a freedom ride into Mississippi, a peaceful protest in Albany, Georgia, a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, these are outgrowths of Thoreau's insistence that evil must be resisted and that no moral man can patiently adjust to injustice.King, M.L. Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. {{webarchive| |date=March 8, 2007 }}
chapter twoAmerican psychologist B. F. Skinner wrote that he carried a copy of Thoreau's Walden with him in his youth.Skinner, B. F., A Matter of Consequences In 1945 he wrote Walden Two, a fictional utopia about 1,000 members of a community living together inspired by the life of Thoreau.Skinner, B. F., Walden Two (1948) Thoreau and his fellow Transcendentalists from Concord were a major inspiration of the composer Charles Ives. The 4th movement of the Concord Sonata for piano (with a part for flute, Thoreau's instrument) is a character picture, and he also set Thoreau's words.Burkholder, James Peter. Charles Ives and His World. Princeton University Press, 1996 (pp. 50–51)Actor Ron Thompson did a dramatic portrayal of Henry David Thoreau on the 1976 NBC television series The Rebels.WEB, Tele-Vues, Sunday, June 6, 1976, June 6, 1976, Independent Press-Telegram, Long Beach, California, 170,weblink WEB, June 5, 1976, Redlands Daily Facts, TV Log, Redlands, California, 10,weblink VIDEO, NBC,weblink Actor Ron Thompson as Henry David Thoreau in The Rebels, June 6, 1976, Thoreau's ideas have impacted and resonated with various strains in the anarchist movement, with Emma Goldman referring to him as "the greatest American anarchist".BOOK, Emma Goldman, Goldman, Emma,weblink Anarchism and Other Essays, 62, 1917, Green anarchism and anarcho-primitivism in particular have both derived inspiration and ecological points-of-view from the writings of Thoreau. John Zerzan included Thoreau's text "Excursions" (1863) in his edited compilation of works in the anarcho-primitivist tradition titled Against civilization: Readings and reflections.BOOK,weblink Against Civilization: Readings And Reflections, John, Zerzan, Amazon, Additionally, Murray Rothbard, the founder of anarcho-capitalism, has opined that Thoreau was one of the "great intellectual heroes" of his movement. Thoreau was also an important influence on late-19th-century anarchist naturism.El naturismo libertario en la Península Ibérica (1890–1939) by Jose Maria Rosello {{webarchive|url= |date=January 2, 2016 }}WEB,weblink Anarchism, Nudism, Naturism, Carlos, Ortega, Globally, Thoreau's concepts also held importance within individualist anarchist circles"La insumisión voluntaria. El anarquismo individualista Español durante la dictadura y la segunda República (1923–1938)" by Xavier Diez {{webarchive|url= |date=May 26, 2006 }}"Les anarchistes individualistes du début du siècle l'avaient bien compris, et intégraient le naturisme dans leurs préoccupations. Il est vraiment dommage que ce discours se soit peu à peu effacé, d'antan plus que nous assistons, en ce moment, à un retour en force du puritanisme (conservateur par essence).""Anarchisme et naturisme, aujourd'hui." by Cathy Ytak {{webarchive|url= |date=February 25, 2009 }} in Spain, France,Recension des articles de l'En-Dehors consacrés au naturisme et au nudisme {{webarchive|url= |date=October 14, 2008 }} and Portugal.Freire, João. "Anarchisme et naturisme au Portugal, dans les années 1920" in Les anarchistes du Portugal. [Bibliographic data necessary for this ref.]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.NEWS, Williams, John, Alcoholism in America, The New York Times, 2017-07-07,weblink 0362-4331, mdy-all, The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp honoring Thoreau on May 23, 2017 in Concord, MA.WEB,weblink American Philatelic Society,,


In 2017, Walden, a Game was released on Created by Tracy Fullerton, it is an open world, first person videogame adaptation of Thoreau's Walden. Players can build the protagonist's cabin, explore the environment, record flora and fauna, farm the land, visit Emerson's house and the town of Concord. At the end of each day players are invited to reflect on their journal which gradually fills up with reflections based on the player's journey and day-to-day experiences. The game also includes letters between Thoreau and his contemporaries, including Amos Bronson Alcott and Ralph Waldo Emerson. It also includes letters between his contemporaries to build a picture of Thoreau's reception as a writer and his connections in the literary and Transcendentalist scene in America at the time. The game was released for Playstation 4 in 2018.


Although his writings would receive widespread acclaim, Thoreau's ideas were not universally applauded. Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson judged Thoreau's endorsement of living alone and apart from modern society in natural simplicity to be a mark of "unmanly" effeminacy and "womanish solitude", while deeming him a self-indulgent "skulker".Stevenson, Robert Louis. "Henry David Thoreau: His Character and Opinions". Cornhill Magazine. June 1880.Nathaniel Hawthorne had mixed feelings about Thoreau. He noted that "He is a keen and delicate observer of nature—a genuine observer—which, I suspect, is almost as rare a character as even an original poet; and Nature, in return for his love, seems to adopt him as her especial child, and shows him secrets which few others are allowed to witness."Nathaniel Hawthorne, Passages From the American Note-Books, entry for September 2, 1842. On the other hand, he also wrote that Thoreau "repudiated all regular modes of getting a living, and seems inclined to lead a sort of Indian life among civilized men".Hawthorne, The Heart of Hawthorne's Journals, p. 106.Borst, Raymond R. The Thoreau Log: A Documentary Life of Henry David Thoreau, 1817–1862. New York: G.K. Hall, 1992.In a similar vein, poet John Greenleaf Whittier detested what he deemed to be the "wicked" and "heathenish" message of Walden, claiming that Thoreau wanted man to "lower himself to the level of a woodchuck and walk on four legs".Wagenknecht, Edward. John Greenleaf Whittier: A Portrait in Paradox. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967: 112.In response to such criticisms, English novelist George Eliot, writing for the Westminster Review, characterized such critics as uninspired and narrow-minded:Thoreau himself also responded to the criticism in a paragraph of his work Walden by illustrating the irrelevance of their inquiries:Recent criticism has accused Thoreau of hypocrisy, misanthropy, and being sanctimonious, based on his writings in Walden,WEB,weblink Henry David Thoreau, Hypocrite, Schultz, Kathryn, October 19, 2015, The New Yorker, October 19, 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink October 19, 2015, although this criticism has been perceived as highly selective.WEB,weblink Why do we love Thoreau? Because he was right., October 19, 2015, Medium, October 19, 2015, dead,weblink October 19, 2015, mdy-all, JOURNAL,weblink Henry David Thoreau's Radical Optimism, Jonathan, Malesic, October 19, 2015, New Republic, October 19, 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink October 19, 2015, JOURNAL,weblink Everybody Hates Henry, Donovan, Hohn, October 21, 2015, New Republic, October 21, 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink October 26, 2015,


{{expand list|date=October 2014}}{{Thoreauviana}}
  • Aulus Persius Flaccus (1840)Aulus Persius Flaccus {{webarchive|url= |date=December 22, 2010 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • The Service (1840)
  • A Walk to Wachusett (1842)A Walk to Wachusett {{webarchive|url= |date=December 22, 2010 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • Paradise (to be) Regained (1843)Paradise (to be) Regained {{webarchive|url= |date=December 22, 2010 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • The Landlord (1843)WEB,weblink The United States Democratic Review Volume 0013 Issue 64 (Oct 1843),
  • Sir Walter Raleigh (1844)
  • Herald of Freedom (1844)Herald of Freedom {{webarchive|url= |date=December 22, 2010 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • Wendell Phillips Before the Concord Lyceum (1845)Wendell Phillips Before the Concord Lyceum {{webarchive|url= |date=December 22, 2010 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • Reform and the Reformers (1846–48)
  • Thomas Carlyle and His Works (1847)Thomas Carlyle and His Works {{webarchive|url= |date=December 22, 2010 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849)WEB,weblink A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers from Project Gutenberg,
  • Resistance to Civil Government, or Civil Disobedience, or On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1849)BOOK,weblink Aesthetic papers, Elizabeth Palmer, Peabody, Ralph Waldo, Emerson, Nathaniel, Hawthorne, Henry David, Thoreau, January 1, 1849, Boston, : The editor; New York, : G.P. Putnam, Internet Archive,
  • An Excursion to Canada (1853)A Yankee in Canada {{webarchive|url= |date=June 17, 2011 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • Slavery in Massachusetts (1854)Slavery in Massachusetts {{webarchive|url= |date=December 22, 2010 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • Walden (1854)Walden {{webarchive|url= |date=September 26, 2010 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • A Plea for Captain John Brown (1859)A Plea for Captain John Brown {{webarchive|url= |date=December 22, 2010 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • Remarks After the Hanging of John Brown (1859)After the Death of John Brown {{webarchive|url= |date=December 22, 2010 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • The Last Days of John Brown (1860)
  • Walking (1862)WEB,weblink Walking,
  • Autumnal Tints (1862)Autumnal Tints {{webarchive|url= |date=December 22, 2010 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • Wild Apples: The History of the Apple Tree (1862)WEB,weblink Wild Apples, from Project Gutenberg,
  • The Fall of the Leaf (1863)WEB,weblink, The Walden Woods Project, dead,weblink" title="">weblink June 20, 2016, mdy-all, BOOK, 1863, Riverside Publishing, The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 407–08, The Writings of Henry David Thoreau: Excursions, translations, and poems, Henry David Thoreau, Bradford Torrey, Franklin Benjamin Sanborn,weblink
  • Excursions (1863)BOOK,weblink Excursions, Henry David, Thoreau, Houghton (H. O.) & Company. (1863) bkp CU-BANC, Ralph Waldo, Emerson, Sophia E., Thoreau, January 1, 1863, Boston, Ticknor and Fields, Internet Archive,
  • Life Without Principle (1863)WEB,weblink The Atlantic Monthly Volume 0012 Issue 71 (September 1863),
  • Night and Moonlight (1863)WEB,weblink The Atlantic Monthly Volume 0012 Issue 72 (November 1863),
  • The Highland Light (1864)WEB, Henry David Thoreau, 1817–1862,weblink, The University of Adelaide, 1 January 2018,weblink August 24, 2017, dead, mdy-all,
  • The Maine Woods (1864)The Maine Woods from The Thoreau ReaderBOOK,weblink The Maine woods, Henry David, Thoreau, Sophia E., Thoreau, William Ellery, Channing, January 1, 1864, Boston, Ticknor and Fields, Internet Archive, Fully Annotated Edition. Jeffrey S. Cramer, ed., Yale University Press, 2009
  • Cape Cod (1865)WEB,weblink Thoreau's Cape Cod - an annotated edition, Richard, Lenat,
  • Letters to Various Persons (1865)BOOK,weblink Letters to various persons, Henry David, Thoreau, Henry David, Thoreau, Ralph Waldo, Emerson, January 1, 1865, Boston : Ticknor and Fields, Internet Archive,
  • A Yankee in Canada, with Anti-Slavery and Reform Papers (1866)BOOK,weblink A Yankee in Canada, with Anti-slavery and reform papers, Henry David, Thoreau, Henry David, Thoreau, William Ellery, Channing, Ralph Waldo, Emerson, Sophia E., Thoreau, January 1, 1866, Boston, Ticknor and Fields, Internet Archive,
  • Early Spring in Massachusetts (1881)
  • Summer (1884)BOOK,weblink Summer : from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau, Henry David, Thoreau, H. G. O. (Harrison Gray Otis), Blake, January 1, 1884, London : T. Fisher Unwin, Internet Archive,
  • Winter (1888)BOOK,weblink Winter : from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau, Henry David, Thoreau, H. G. O., Blake, January 1, 1888, Boston : Houghton, Mifflin, Internet Archive,
  • Autumn (1892)BOOK,weblink Autumn. From the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau, Henry David, Thoreau, Harrison Gray Otis, Blake, Boston, Houghton, Mifflin, Internet Archive, 1892-12-03,
  • Miscellanies (1894)Miscellanies{{dead link|date=March 2017 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • Familiar Letters of Henry David Thoreau (1894)BOOK,weblink Familiar letters of Henry David Thoreau, Henry David, Thoreau, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), Sanborn, January 1, 1894, Boston : Houghton, Mifflin, Internet Archive,
  • Poems of Nature (1895)
  • Some Unpublished Letters of Henry D. and Sophia E. Thoreau (1898)
  • The First and Last Journeys of Thoreau (1905)BOOK,weblink The first and last journeys of Thoreau : lately discovered among his unpublished journals and manuscripts, Henry David, Thoreau, Mass ), Bibliophile Society (Boston, Mass ), Bibliophile Society (Boston, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), Sanborn, January 1, 1905, Boston : Printed exclusively for members of the Bibliophile Society, Internet Archive, BOOK,weblink The first and last journeys of Thoreau : lately discovered among his unpublished journals and manuscripts, Henry David, Thoreau, Mass ), Bibliophile Society (Boston, Mass ), Bibliophile Society (Boston, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), Sanborn, January 1, 1905, Boston : Printed exclusively for members of the Bibliophile Society, Internet Archive,
  • Journal of Henry David Thoreau (1906)The Journal of Henry D. Thoreau {{webarchive|url= |date=May 5, 2010 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau edited by Walter Harding and Carl Bode (Washington Square: New York University Press, 1958)The Correspondence of Thoreau {{webarchive|url= |date=June 17, 2011 }} from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
  • Poets of the English Language (Viking Press, 1950){{citation needed|date=May 2017}}
  • I Was Made Erect and LoneWEB,weblink I Was Made Erect and Lone, 2018-12-03,
  • The Bluebird Carries the Sky on His Back (Stanyan, 1970){{citation needed|date=May 2017}}
  • The Dispersion of Seeds published as Faith in a Seed (Island Press, 1993)BOOK,weblink Faith in a Seed: The Dispersion of Seeds and Other Late Natural History Writings, Thoreau, Henry David, April 1996, Island Press,
isbn=978-1559631822, January 29, 2018,

See also



Further reading

  • Bode, Carl. Best of Thoreau's Journals. Southern Illinois University Press. 1967.
  • Botkin, Daniel. No Man's Garden
  • Dean, Bradley P. ed., Letters to a Spiritual Seeker. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004.
  • Furtak, Rick, Ellsworth, Jonathan, and Reid, James D., eds. Thoreau's Importance for Philosophy. New York: Fordham University Press, 2012.
  • Harding, Walter. The Days of Henry Thoreau. Princeton University Press, 1982.
  • Hendrick, George. "The Influence of Thoreau's 'Civil Disobedience' on Gandhi's Satyagraha." The New England Quarterly 29, no. 4 (December 1956). 462–71.
  • Howarth, William. The Book of Concord: Thoreau's Life as a Writer. Viking Press, 1982
  • Marble, Annie Russell. Thoreau: His Home, Friends and Books. New York: AMS Press. 1969 [1902]
  • Myerson, Joel et al. The Cambridge Companion to Henry David Thoreau. Cambridge University Press. 1995
  • Nash, Roderick. Henry David Thoreau, Philosopher
  • Paolucci, Stefano. "The Foundations of Thoreau's 'Castles in the Air'", Thoreau Society Bulletin, No. 290 (Summer 2015), 10. (See also the Full Unedited Version of the same article.)
  • Parrington, Vernon. Main Current in American Thought. V 2 online. 1927
  • Petroski, Henry. "H. D. Thoreau, Engineer." American Heritage of Invention and Technology, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 8–16
  • Petrulionis, Sandra Harbert, ed., Thoreau in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn From Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2012. {{ISBN|1-60938-087-8}}
  • Richardson, Robert D. Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind. University of California Press Berkeley and Los Angeles. 1986. {{ISBN|0-520-06346-5}}
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA, Riggenbach, Jeff, Ronald, Hamowy, Ronald Hamowy, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism,weblink 2008, SAGE Publications, SAGE; Cato Institute, Thousand Oaks, California, 10.4135/9781412965811.n309, 978-1-4129-6580-4, 750831024, 2008009151, 506–07, Thoreau, Henry David (1817–1862), The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism,
  • JOURNAL, Riggenbach, Jeff, Henry David Thoreau: Founding Father of American Libertarian Thought, Mises Daily, July 15, 2010,weblink
  • Ridl, Jack. "Moose. Indian." Scintilla (poem on Thoreau's last words)
  • Schneider, Richard Civilizing Thoreau: Human Ecology and the Emerging Social Sciences in the Major Works Rochester, New York. Camden House. 2016. {{ISBN|978-1-57113-960-3}}
  • Smith, David C. "The Transcendental Saunterer: Thoreau and the Search for Self." Savannah, Georgia: Frederic C. Beil, 1997. {{ISBN|0-913720-74-7}}
  • Sullivan, Mark W. "Henry David Thoreau in the American Art of the 1950s." The Concord Saunterer: A Journal of Thoreau Studies, New Series, Vol. 18 (2010), pp. 68–89.
  • Sullivan, Mark W. Picturing Thoreau: Henry David Thoreau in American Visual Culture. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2015
  • Tauber, Alfred I. Henry David Thoreau and the Moral Agency of Knowing. University of California, Berkeley. 2001. {{ISBN|0-520-23915-6}}
  • JOURNAL, Traub, Courtney, 'First-Rate Fellows': Excavating Thoreau's Radical Egalitarian Reflections in a Late Draft of "Allegash", The Concord Saunterer: A Journal of Thoreau Studies, 2015, 23, 74–96,
  • Walls, Laura Dassow. Seeing New Worlds: Henry David Thoreau and 19th Century Science. University of Wisconsin. 1995. {{ISBN|0-299-14744-4}}
  • Walls, Laura Dassow. Henry David Thoreau: A Life. The University of Chicago Press. 2017. {{ISBN|978-0-226-34469-0}}

External links

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