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Walden; Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift…

Walden; Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions) (original 1854; edition 1995)

by Henry David Thoreau

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10,362135417 (3.86)2 / 382
Title:Walden; Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions)
Authors:Henry David Thoreau
Info:Dover Publications (1995), Edition: Unabridged, Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Classic, Non-fiction

Work details

Walden by Henry David Thoreau (Author) (1854)


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English (121)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (2)  French (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  All languages (137)
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Thoreau set aside all worldly things and spent time in a small self-made home along the large pond known as Walden. Here he wrote down his musings on the natural world and everything else after spending so much time in near solitude.

This book is a classic and one of the titles on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list, so it was only a matter of time before I finally got around to it. I had been looking forward to it as well, and perhaps that was my downfall. Quickly I learned that this wasn't really the book for me. Thoreau does make some excellent points about living a simpler life and being more concerned about a person's character than their clothing (and other worldly trappings). However, he goes a great deal further than I think most of us would agree with -- for instance, he seems to think furniture and coffee are among the needless luxuries we all indulge in far too much. True, these aren't strictly necessities, but I don't think many of us really want to part with them unless we absolutely had to do so. In a similar vein, he sneers at the education provided by colleges and pretty much dismisses them as useless; while I agree that practical skills are needed as well, I don't think we need to get rid of education all together!

In fact, it was too difficult for me to not get frustrated by Thoreau's perceived superiority in doing this little experiment. He struck me as someone who would fit in perfectly today as the stereotypical hipster mansplaining why his lifestyle is the best and only way. Not everyone is able to just squat on another's land without getting shot by the police; not everyone is physically able to build their own home or live in relative isolation away from access to doctors among other things; and while Thoreau claims he could be left alone with just his thoughts forever (a point which I highly doubt or he would never have returned to society), there are few people who could get by without other human interaction. At one point, Thoreau essentially mocks the builders of the pyramids for being slaves who obeyed their masters rather than revolted -- as if things were as simply cut and dry as all that.

The audio version of the book I had was read by Mel Foster who did an adequate job -- nothing to write home about, but not bad either. ( )
1 vote sweetiegherkin | Apr 14, 2019 |
Sometimes inspiring and poetic, sometimes tedious and rambling. Thoreau’s attempts to offer wisdom are generally less satisfying than his intricate, loving descriptions of his environment.

"What is a course of history or philosophy, or poetry, no matter how well selected, or the best society, or the most admirable routine of life, compared with the discipline of looking always at what is to be seen? Will you be a reader, a student merely, or a seer?" ( )
  brokensandals | Feb 7, 2019 |
Book two on my list of "Books I own and should have read (and a few others)." In high school, I wanted to like the transcendentalists, for reasons I cannot remember. But reading Emerson was torture. It disappointed me to learn then that Emerson was such an influence on Nietzsche, who is such a great writer. I wondered, would Thoreau be more like the former or the latter. Without a doubt, it is the latter. There are stirring passages and parts I'd like to return to, but on the whole I am happy we have left the nineteenth century's way of writing behind.

A question. Why does Thoreau refer to Harvard as Cambridge College? ( )
  tertullian | Jan 22, 2019 |
This book is Thoreau's reflections on the time he spent in a home he built on Walden Pond. He lived in a cabin in the woods for 2 years, 2 months and 2 days. He wanted to spend the time reflecting and learning to understand society. He also wanted to see if he could mainly be self-sustaining on the land. He was in the middle of Concord, Massachusetts, so not necessarily in the wilderness, but off the beaten path to the point where he was 2 miles from civilization.

This book was....interesting. First of all, Thoreau is a rambler. I would guess, though, that any of us keeping a journal of our day to day routine would be too. I learned about every bird in the woods. What temperature the pond was compared to other ponds near by. When the pond froze for the winter, how he built his house, how he kept warm, and who he talked with while he lived in the woods. The book could have been about half the size, but he liked to talk for paragraphs about each and every animal or situation to the point of my losing interest and wanting to skim. I did finish it, but it was trying. I do have to say, though, on the bits that I did enjoy, he was telling. And interesting. And sometimes even funny. It had its moments.

I have never been very good with the classics. I am starting to think it is a personal problem I have - I am just not in the mindset for this type of writing. It isn't my cup of tea. BUT - I will continue to struggle through them because I am interested in seeing what makes them classics. Maybe one day, I will come by one that I truly love. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
Devastatingly wonderful. I had read parts of this at uni, of course, but never the whole work. I wouldn't recommend this for everyone, or perhaps many, but it is the heart of a movement which I hold very dear. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (120 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thoreau, Henry DavidAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Auziņa, IrēnaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Åsberg, StigIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ābols, ValdisTranslatorsecondary 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
Groševs, EduardsCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Immonen, AnttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meyer, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nason, ThomasIllustratorsecondary 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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Wikipedia in English (1)

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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 34 descriptions

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