Walden and Civil Disobedience

Walden and Civil Disobedience

Henry David Thoreau

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 0451532163

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Henry David Thoreau’s masterwork Walden is a collection of his reflections on life and society.

In 1845, Thoreau moved to a cabin that he built with his own hands along the shores of Walden Pond in Massachusetts. Shedding the trivial ties that he felt bound much of humanity, Thoreau reaped from the land both physically and mentally, and pursued truth in the quiet of nature. In Walden, he explains how separating oneself from the world of men can truly awaken the sleeping self. Thoreau holds fast to the notion that you have not truly existed until you adopt such a lifestyle—and only then can you reenter society, as an enlightened being.
 
These simple but profound musings—as well as “Civil Disobedience,” his protest against the government’s interference with civil liberty—have inspired many to embrace his philosophy of individualism and love of nature. More than a century and a half later, his message is more timely than ever.
 
With an Introduction by W.S. Merwin
and an Afterword by Will Howarth

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shams and appearances had gathered from time to time.” It can indeed be hard to recognize shams and appearances, at least before anyone has exposed them as such. Whether because of the pious sermonizing of the clergy, the obfuscating rhetoric of politicians, or the presumably expert advice of journalists, scholars, and other public figures who regularly explain the complex world to us, shams and appearances can come to seem all too convincing and real. Thoreau’s Realometer would help us

intellectual and moral influence of solitude, the example of Thoreau, with all the alleviating wisdom, courage, and tenderness confessedly in it, is chiefly valuable as an illustration of the evils of a want of sympathy with the community. —from Solitudes of Nature and Man; or the Loneliness of Human Life (1866) HENRY JAMES Whatever question there may be of [Thoreau’s] talent, there can be none, I think, of his genius. It was a slim and crooked one; but it was eminently personal. He was

together and hear, O dear! how he did get down again! For my part, I think that they had better metamorphose all such aspiring heroes of universal noveldom into man weathercocks, as they used to put heroes among the constellations, and let them swing round there till they are rusty, and not come down at all to bother honest men with their pranks. The next time the novelist rings the bell I will not stir though the meeting-house burn down. “The Skip of the Tip-Toe-Hop, a Romance of the Middle

whatever, as by the parade one made about dining me, which I took to be a very polite and roundabout hint never to trouble him so again. I think I shall never revisit those scenes. I should be proud to have for the motto of my cabin those lines of Spenser which one of my visitors inscribed on a yellow walnut leaf for a card:— “Arrived there, the little house they fill, No looke for entertainment where none was; Rest is their feast, and all things at their will: The noblest mind the best

whirlwind had swept them away, and they so exactly resemble the dried leaves and twigs that many a traveller has placed his foot in the midst of a brood, and heard the whir of the old bird as she flew off, and her anxious calls and mewing, or seen her trail her wings to attract his attention, without suspecting their neighborhood. The parent will sometimes roll and spin round before you in such a dishabille, that you cannot, for a few moments, detect what kind of creature it is. The young squat

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