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Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Walden (1854)

by Henry David Thoreau

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Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
Walden reminds us what is really important in life. Watching the seasons change anew. The heroic story of two colonies of ants battling in the pine needles unnoticed by man. The artwork of nature and the universe that no painter or poet can match. Things we know intuitively as children, but forget in the duties and rules of adult life. Thoreau shows us a way we can live on our own terms. I think it's something we all want, but too few of us are able and courageous enough to find it. I found myself at a conflict reading this book. On one hand, I crave the simple life and independence that Thoreau presents (as seemingly the only right way to live). But, on the other, I can't see the world supporting 7 billion Walden ponds for us all to escape to. This book was written at a very different time. I think society has it's restrictions for a reason, and while it's nice to think about what it would be like without them, we don't all have the privilege to just ignore them. He says every man should be friction to the machine of the government, but wouldn't it just grind to halt? Who would enforce justice then?

I had a hard time keeping patient through some parts of the book. I would have probably gave up on it if I didn't like Thoreau's writing style so much. I think you either like the poetic style riddled with metaphors or you don't. I liked it and think it made some of his ideas easier to understand. Though he sometimes comes across to me as a 19th century hipster ("holier than thou" like another reviewer said), he still has some really great ideas on self reliance. This book has had a great effect on American society, and it was worth seeing the ideas behind it. ( )
  thallada | Apr 27, 2017 |
This is a more difficult book for me to read today than it would have been at fifteen or sixteen when it first came on my radar. The radical elements of Walden's thinking would have corresponded very much to my own, so that what he was saying would matter less. Now all I can see or think of is the misreading that happens and how much I resent people who idealize the kind of "simple" living that Thoreau portrays here. There's such a pretentiousness to the way that rusticity is fetishized now (as, evidently, it was then) which gets in the way of my reading. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
UPDATE 2/19/2107
Oh I know this is a favorite, a classic . But I could not stomach any more of Thoreau. His tone is condescending, snobby and totally off-putting. I'd hoped maybe I could glean something worthwhile, something inspiring, but no. This man hadn't an ounce of humility. How can someone impart wisdom without humility? My last attempt was last night, I read a few more pages of Economy where Thoreau, among other annoying comments, criticizes a 'scrubby Irish laborer' No thanks. Goodbye Thoreau.

8/19/2016 I thought Walden would be a good book to read over the summer. So I just picked it up yesterday , expecting to be uplifted . I must say, so far I'm finding Thoreau to be very haughty and full of himself. I know this work is highly acclaimed, assigned as mandatory reading in schools across the country, but so far I'm not impressed. Right from the start, on p.6, Thoreau begins a diatribe of why learning from the elderly is pointless:

What old people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can. Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new. Old people did not know enough once, perchance, to fetch fresh fuel to keep the fire going; new people put a little dry wood under a pot, and are whirled round the globe with the speed of birds, in a way to kill old people, as the phrase is. Age is no better, hardly so well, qualified for an instructor as youth, for it has not profited so much as it has lost.... Practically, the old have no very important advice to give to the young, their own experience has been so partial... they are only less young than they were."

Oh really now? So advice from the older generation has no importance? Well, according to Thoreau's philosophy, he is beyond old age now himself, dead and buried, so perhaps his musings have no value to anyone in this current age.

Nonetheless, I will give this book a chance. If I can get through it. ( )
  homeschoolmimzi | Feb 19, 2017 |
It was an interesting book, but I found I largely already agreed with the book in several respects. I think I will have to read it again, though, to fully appreciate it. ( )
  thepanzas | Jan 31, 2017 |
Being the type that enjoys philosophy and communing with nature, I thought the story of a famous transcendentalist pondering life in a cabin in the woods would be an interesting read for me. Turns out, no. Rambling passages detailing minutia, a litany of pretentious classical references, and frequent diversions into Latin bog down the narrative for this reader. I did relish those rare moments his 19th Century wit made me laugh, and his discussions of fugitive slaves and Indians presented an interesting time warp. Mostly though, I slogged through to the end to find out how he could possibly justify rejoining society after blasting all those who remained. Spoiler alert: he said he left Walden Pond for the same reason he came, and then quickly diverged into more esoterica. Disappointing, much like the rest of this book. ( )
  DavidZHirsch | Jan 21, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (120 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thoreau, Henry Davidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Åsberg, StigIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bengtsson, Frans G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Douglas, William O.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emmerich, EmmaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fischer, TatjanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gissen, MaxEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Immonen, AnttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meyer, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ross, LauraEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Teale, Edwin Waysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up.
First words
When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my two hand only.
We are wont to forget that the sun looks on our cultivated fields and on the prairies and forests without distinction. They all reflect and absorb his rays alike, and the former make but a small part of the glorious picture which he beholds in his daily course. In his view the earth is all equally cultivated like a garden. Therefore we should receive the benefit of his light and heat with a corresponding trust and magnanimity.
wherever a man goes, men will pursue and paw him with their dirty institutions, and, if they can, constrain him to belong to their desperate odd-fellow society.
Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.
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Only "Walden" - please don't combine with any edition containing other works as well.
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Book description
The Scott Library edition consists of a cloth cover, uncut edges and gold gilt top. Original price was 1s 6d per volume. Published 1900ca.

Originally published in 1854, Walden, or Life in the Woods, is a vivid account of the time that Henry D. Thoreau lived alone in a secluded cabin at Walden Pond. It is one of the most influential and compelling books in American literature.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486284956, Paperback)

One of the great books of American letters and a masterpiece of reflective philosophizing. Accounts of Thoreau's daily life on the shores of Walden Pond outside Concord, Massachusetts, are interwoven with musings on the virtues of self-reliance and individual freedom, on society, government, and other topics. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:35 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

One of the great books of American letters and a masterpiece of reflective philosophizing. Accounts of Thoreau's daily life on the shores of Walden Pond outside Concord, Massachusetts, are interwoven with musings on the virtues of self-reliance and individual freedom, on society, government, and other topics.… (more)

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