or, Life in the Woods
The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self-reliance. First published in 1854, 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, Massachusetts. The book compresses the time into a single calendar year and uses passages of four seasons to symbolize human development. By immersing himself in nature, Thoreau hoped to gain a more objective understanding of society through personal introspection. Simple living and self-sufficiency were Thoreau's other goals, and the whole project was inspired by transcendentalist philosophy, a central theme of the American Romantic Period. As Thoreau made clear in his book, his cabin was not in wilderness but at the edge of town, about two miles from his family home.
This is Thoreau's famous autobiographical account of his experiment in solitary living; his refusal to play by the rules of hard work and the accumulation of wealth; and above all the freedom it gave him to adapt his living to the natural world around him.
Walden is an autobiographical account of Henry David Thoreau's experiment in simple living in a small one room cabin on the banks of Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. He lived there 2 years and 2 months, he recounts in the beginning of the text, but condensed the narrative to just one year for clarity. The book is essentially Thoreau's exploration of just how simple one person could live, by looking at things in ideal terms and trying to work some of those things into his way of life. He asks, what are the essentials for a person to live and go about living? Noting that until these thing have been gotten, man cannot confront more meaningful pursuits. Some people have looked at Thoreau's attempts at living life simply as a lazy man's approach to life but at Walden his life was anything but lazy. He spent 4 hours a day walking in the woods, much of it, in observing and chronicling nature. He kept a 2 acre mini-farm, growing beans and other crops, doing all the work by hand. He occasionally hired his services out to townspeople doing odd jobs, surveying, carpentry and gardening. I personally have read Walden several times since a teenager. I am now 60. I have several copies of the book on the shelf, continuing to take one or another down to read some of the passages I had underlined years ago, and then underlining a few more. I always look on these times as visiting an old friend who has taught me many things about living and what I should see as important to put value on and strive toward.--Submitted by Mike Jordan.
Recent Forum Posts on Walden
Related links for Henry David Thoreau
Here is where you find links to related content on this site or other sites, possibly including full books or essays about Henry David Thoreau written by other authors featured on this site.
Sorry, no links available.
|Art of Worldly Wisdom Daily|
In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest wrote 300 aphorisms on living life called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." Join our newsletter below and read them all, one at a time.
Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets! Join our Sonnet-A-Day Newsletter and read them all, one at a time.