Walden and on the Duty of Civil Disobedience

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9780020547204: Walden and on the Duty of Civil Disobedience

WALDEN Walden; first published in 1854, as “Walden; or, Life in the Woods”, by noted transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. It is a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings. The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self-reliance. It details Thoreau's experiences over the course of two years, two months, and two days in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massach usetts. Some of the major themes that are present within the text are: Self-reliance: Thoreau constantly refuses to be in "need" of the companionship of others. Though he realizes its significance and importance, he thinks it unnecessary to always be in search for it. Self-reliance, to him, is economic and social and is a principle that in terms of financial and interpersonal relations is more valuable than anything. To Thoreau, self-reliance can be both spiritual as well as economic. Connection to transcendentalism and to Emerson's essay. Simplicity: Simplicity seems to be Thoreau's model for life. Throughout the book, Thoreau constantly seeks to simplify his lifestyle: he patches his clothes rather than buy new ones, he minimizes his consumer activity, and relies on leisure time and on himself for everything. Progress: In a world where everyone and everything is eager to advance in terms of progress, Thoreau finds it stubborn and skeptical to think that any outward improvement of life can bring inner peace and contentment. The need for spiritual awakening Man as part of nature Nature and its reflection of human emotions The state as unjust and corrupt John Updike wrote of Walden, "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". The American psychologist B. F. Skinner wrote that he carried a copy of Walden with him in his youth, and eventually wrote Walden Two in 1945, a fictional utopia about 1,000 members who live together in a Thoreau-inspired community. HENRY DAVID THOREAU Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions are 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

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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 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.

From the Back Cover:

By virtue of its casual, off-handedly brilliant wisdom and the easy splendor of its nature writing, Thoreau's account of his adventure in self-reliance on the shores of a pond in Massachusetts is one of the signposts by which the modern mind has located itself in an increasingly bewildering world.

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Henry David Thoreau
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Thoreau, Henry David
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