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Walden and Civil Disobedience (Penguin…
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Walden and Civil Disobedience (Penguin American Library) (original 1854; edition 1983)

by Henry David Thoreau (Author)

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7,674491,167 (3.88)44
Essays. Philosophy. Nonfiction. HTML:

One of the most famous non-fiction American books, Walden by Henry David Thoreau is the history of Thoreau's visit to Ralph Waldo Emerson's woodland retreat near Walden Pond. Thoreau, stirred by the philosophy of the transcendentalists, used the sojourn as an experiment in self reliance and minimalismâ?¦ "so as 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." Walden stresses the significance of self-reliance, solitude, meditation, and nature in rising above the the life of quiet desperation lived by most people. that, he argues, is the lot of most people. Part autobiography, part manifesto Walden is a moving treatise on the importance distancing oneself from the consumerism of modern Western society and embracing nature in its place.… (more)

Member:Daniellemjohnson0515
Title:Walden and Civil Disobedience (Penguin American Library)
Authors:Henry David Thoreau (Author)
Info:Penguin Classics (1983), Edition: First Edition, 336 pages
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Walden / Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau (1854)

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» See also 44 mentions

English (46)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
«Avevo tre sedie, in casa mia: una per la solitudine, due per l’amicizia, tre per la compagnia». Un classico finalmente letto. Seguire Thoreau sul lago di Walden offre l’opportunità di confrontarsi con un’inattuale attitudine ai temi dell’economia e della sussistenza di base, del rapporto con la natura, della dimensione individuale e sociale del nostro vivere. Non solo una critica della società dell’epoca; soprattutto, un viaggio di auto-conoscenza.
( )
  d.v. | May 16, 2023 |
I started reading "Walden Pond" at about the same time as the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and was struck by the extreme contrast of the pioneer ethos with Thoreau's meandering jeremiad and rather whining self-important pride at living a whole mile away from the nearest neighbor (a 15-minute walk at most for any able-bodied person), when the Ingalls and their compatriots routinely settled 2 to 10 miles from anyone else, if not substantially more, often being totally cut off in the winter.
Somewhat like Thoreau, the Ingalls family is torn between the benefits of community and the pleasures of solitary home-steading, but they are actually roughing it, unlike the philosophe, who was supported by his friends and didn't lack for company IIRC.
Wilder does a better job of contrasting the pros and cons of "civilized" settlements versus singular homesteads in the context of her fictionalized memoir.
  librisissimo | Dec 26, 2022 |
I had never before read Walden & Civil Disobedience in their entirety. Walden is something of a slog and slow to get going, but I enjoyed the rapturous way he writes about nature. It's easy to see why this is a classic for those passages alone. Civil Disobedience is more engaging than the social commentary within Walden, and quite fascinating in light of how it continues to influence activism today. I'm glad I read these works but I won't ever willingly read through them again. ( )
  ladycato | Sep 14, 2022 |
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…”

I am reading this at Scout Camp in the Sierra Mountains. We are in Emigrant Gap in California, at an elevation of 5,389 feet, and Chubb Lake is standing in for Walden Pond. And it’s 2022, not 1845. It was a bit dry, but extremely impactful! And I was in the perfect setting to absorb it! I loved so many quotes in the book and wrote down my most favorites below. After finishing the book, I really believe it should be a requirement for everyone on planet Earth to read. That's how important I think it is.

“The evil that men do lives after them.”

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
“Birds do not sing in caves…”
“But lo! men have become the tools of their tools.”
“There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted.”
“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root…”
“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.”
“How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book!”
“…but nothing can deter a poet, for he is actuated by love.”
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
“Enjoy the land, but own it not.”
“We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us, like the grass which confesses the influence of the slightest dew that falls on it; and did not spend our time in atoning for the neglect of past opportunities, which we call doing our duty. We loiter in winter while it is already spring.”
“Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
“We can never have enough of nature.”
“…if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
“The faultfinder will find faults even in paradise.”
“Patriotism is a maggot in their heads.”

“For my part, I could easily do without the post office.” - (this is a particular favorite of mine, as I am a USPS letter carrier!) ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Jul 17, 2022 |
Sparked by Thoreau’s outrage at American slavery and the American-Mexican war, Civil Disobedience is a call for every citizen to value his conscience above his government. Within this 19th century essay, Thoreau explains government of any sort – including democracy – does not possess more wisdom or justice than its individual citizens, and that it is every citizen’s responsibility to avoid acquiescence. More than an essay, Civil Disobedience is a call to action for all citizens to refuse to participate in, or encourage in any way, an unjust institution.

FROM AMAZON: Henry David Thoreau’s Walden details his 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, Massachusetts. “Civil Disobedience” is a highly influential argument for disobedience to an unjust state. Both Walden and “Civil Disobedience” are timeless classics of American literature. This Warbler Classics edition includes an introduction by Charles R. Anderson and a detailed chronology of Thoreau’s life and work.

Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) was an American naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher. He is best known for his book Walden and his essay “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” (originally published as “Resistance to Civil Government”). Thoreau 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. His writings on natural history and philosophy anticipated modern-day environmentalism. ( )
  Gmomaj | Jun 7, 2022 |
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» Add other authors (52 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henry David Thoreauprimary authorall editionscalculated
Case, KristenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Degas, RupertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lentz, David B.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levin, JonathanIntroduction and Notessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merwin, W.S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meyer, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, PerryAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paul, ShermanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rossi, WilliamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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.
Dedication
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 had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only.
Quotations
At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Contains both Walden AND Civil Disobedience. Please don't combine with any edition that only contains one or the other of them.
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Essays. Philosophy. Nonfiction. HTML:

One of the most famous non-fiction American books, Walden by Henry David Thoreau is the history of Thoreau's visit to Ralph Waldo Emerson's woodland retreat near Walden Pond. Thoreau, stirred by the philosophy of the transcendentalists, used the sojourn as an experiment in self reliance and minimalismâ?¦ "so as 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." Walden stresses the significance of self-reliance, solitude, meditation, and nature in rising above the the life of quiet desperation lived by most people. that, he argues, is the lot of most people. Part autobiography, part manifesto Walden is a moving treatise on the importance distancing oneself from the consumerism of modern Western society and embracing nature in its place.

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Book description
In a sense Thoreau is Adam after the Fall living East of Eden in a micro-cabin built by his own hands with tools borrowed from his Concord neighbors and sustained at pristine Walden by the bean field in his garden and those resources yielded up to him by the wilderness. He wants to transcend inauthentic, everyday life in Concord and awaken his soul to the beauty and harmony of life by living mindfully in every moment in the woods of New England. In Concord, Thoreau met Ralph Waldo Emerson, who introduced him to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bronson Alcott and Ellery Channing. Thoreau worked in his family's pencil factory, which he continued to do for most of his adult life. Thoreau embarked on a two-year experiment in living simply in 1845, when he moved to a humble cabin that he constructed on land owned by Emerson on Walden Pond. There Thoreau transforms into a supremely self-reliant individual, which is a core value of transcendentalism. Transcendentalists hold that an ideal spiritual state transcends, or overcomes, the physical and empirical world around us and that one achieves insight through personal intuition. In solitude Thoreau distances himself from others and surveys the botany of the Garden undistracted by the common, quotidian pursuits of his Concord neighbors. "I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society," he writes. He observed the color of pickerel in Walden and the ice in winter and listened to the sound of the Fitchburg Railroad as it hooted intrusively past the pond. Thoreau considered the people of Concord to be slaves chained of their own free wills to their farms, livestock, fields and houses. He deemed the price of something to be the amount of irretrievable time that one is willing to trade for it. He said that a man is wealthy in proportion to what he can afford to live without. He viewed his neighbors as possessed by a certain material madness in the way in which they slaved from dawn to dusk to acquire and maintain possessions that they did not really need to sustain themselves. Thoreau whittled the necessities of life down to the barest essentials. He refused to spend vast tracts of his life at meaningless labor to chase material goods, possessions, luxuries and wealth that he did not want or need. Because he did not pursue a traditional living while at Walden, economy became vital to his lifestyle as a nonconformist. Thoreau was concerned with living frugally by extreme thrift by budgeting his modest means: his economy translated into freedom. He calculates that he needs only to work for six weeks to earn enough to live at Walden for a year. He drifts alone in a wooden boat on Walden Pond and falls asleep on its floorboards delighted to learn to which shore the winds sent him. He paddled after a diving loon. He surveyed Walden's depths. He marvels at the blossoming of the woods in springtime after the thundering ice goes out from Walden Pond and the woods are enriched by the sounds of migrating geese and wild creatures, which inhabit the environs of his little cabin. Thoreau's modest life as a naturalist, it turns out, is full and rich, and well lived. He valued most of all his cheerful trade of the pursuit of wealth and material goods for living simply at Walden as it informed his immortal legacy. At Walden Pond, he completed a first draft of "A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers." Thoreau printed 1,000 copies at his own expense although fewer than 300 were sold: Thoreau self-published on the advice of Emerson, using Emerson's own publisher. As a pacifist he failed to see what was gained by the loss of life, treasure, humanity and time to engage in feckless war. His positions on civil disobedience influenced Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. "Civil Disobedience" called for improving rather than abolishing government: "I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government." He was a proponent that a "government is best which governs not at all." Thoreau spent one night in jail for refusing to pay six years of delinquent poll taxes used to finance the Mexican-American War and slavery. He was outraged when someone, possibly an aunt, anonymously paid his taxes, a considerable sum at the time, and he was freed from jail. Thoreau writes that during his entire two years at Walden he "was never molested by any person but those who represented the state." He became a land surveyor and kept a series of notebooks, and these observations became the source of his Natural History Essays, such as "Autumnal Tints", "The Succession of Trees" and "Wild Apples," an essay about indigenous, wild apples. In this essay he writes: "Bring me an apple from the Tree of Life." In 1859 following a late night outing to calibrate the rings of tree stumps during a rainstorm, he became ill with bronchitis and his health declined over three years. Thoreau spent his last years revising and editing his unpublished works, particularly "The Maine Woods." The only two complete books published in his lifetime were his observations as a naturalist and transcendentalist in "Walden" and "A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers" (1849).
Haiku summary
Lost man goes into woods | to
build a house by a pond | and finds his soul. (David B. Lentz)

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