He admired William Bartram and Charles Darwin 's voyage of the beagle. He kept detailed observations on Concord's nature lore, recording everything from how the fruit ripened over time to the fluctuating depths of Walden Pond and the days certain birds migrated. The point of this task was to "anticipate" the seasons of nature, in his word. 52 53 he became a land surveyor and continued to write increasingly detailed observations on the natural history of the town, covering an area of 26 square miles (67 km2 in his journal, a two-million-word document he kept for 24 years. He also kept a series of notebooks, and these observations became the source of his late writings on natural history, such as "Autumnal Tints "The succession of Trees and "Wild Apples an essay lamenting the destruction of indigenous wild apple species. Until the 1970s, literary critics who?
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The American poet Robert Frost wrote of Thoreau, "In one book. He surpasses everything we have had in America." 46 The American author John Updike said of the book, "A century and a half after its publication, walden has become such a totem of the back-to-nature, preservationist, anti-business, civil-disobedience mindset, and Thoreau so vivid a protester. In 1850, he and his family moved into a house at 255 main Street, where student he lived until his death. 48 In the summer of 1850, Thoreau and Channing journeyed from Boston to montreal and quebec City. These would be Thoreau's only travels outside the United States. 49 It is as a result of this trip that he developed lectures that eventually became a yankee in Canada. He jested that all he got from this adventure "was a cold." 50 In fact, this proved an opportunity to contrast American civic spirit and democratic values with a colony apparently ruled by illegitimate religious and military power. Whereas his own country had had its revolution, in Canada history had failed to turn. 51 Later years, edit Thoreau in 1854 In 1851, Thoreau became increasingly fascinated with natural history and narratives of travel and expedition. He read avidly on botany and often wrote observations on this topic into his journal.
44 At Walden Pond, Thoreau completed a first draft of a week on the concord and Merrimack rivers, an elegy to his brother John, describing their trip to the White mountains in 1839. Thoreau did not find a publisher for the book and instead printed 1,000 copies at his own expense; fewer than 300 were sold. 33 :234 he self-published the book on the advice writings of Emerson, using Emerson's publisher, munroe, who did little to publicize the book. In August 1846, Thoreau briefly left Walden to make a trip to mount Katahdin in maine, a journey later recorded in "Ktaadn the first part of The maine woods. Thoreau left Walden Pond on September 6, 1847. 33 :244 At Emerson's request, he immediately moved back to the Emerson house to help Emerson's wife, lidian, manage the household while her husband was on an extended trip to europe. 45 over several years, as he worked to pay off his debts, he continuously revised the manuscript of what he eventually published as Walden, or Life in the woods in 1854, recounting the two years, two months, and two days he had spent at Walden. The book compresses that time into a single calendar year, using the passage of the four seasons to symbolize human development. Part memoir and part spiritual quest, walden at first won few admirers, but later critics have regarded it as a classic American work that explores natural simplicity, harmony, and beauty as models for just social and cultural conditions.
His allusions to the mexican War,. Hoar 's expulsion from Carolina, his own imprisonment in Concord jail for refusal to pay his tax,. Hoar's payment of mine when taken to prison for a similar refusal, were all pertinent, well considered, and reasoned. I took great pleasure in this deed of Thoreau's. — Bronson Alcott, journals 43 Thoreau revised the lecture into an essay titled " Resistance to civil government " (also known as "civil Disobedience. It was published by Elizabeth peabody in the aesthetic Papers in may 1849. Thoreau had taken up a version of Percy Shelley 's principle in the political poem " The mask of Anarchy " (1819 which begins with the powerful images of the unjust forms of authority of his time and then imagines the stirrings of a radically.
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37 "civil Disobedience" and the walden years, edit Thoreau sites at Walden Pond I went to the woods because i wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce. — Henry david Thoreau, "Where i lived, and What i lived For in Walden 38 Thoreau felt a need to concentrate and work more on his writing. In March 1845, Ellery Channing told Thoreau, "go out upon that, build yourself a hut, there begin the grand thesis process of devouring yourself alive. I see no other alternative, no other hope for you." 39 Two months later, Thoreau embarked on a two-year experiment in simple living on July 4, 1845, when he moved to a small house he had built on land owned by Emerson in a second-growth.
The house was in "a pretty pasture and woodlot" of 14 acres (57,000 m2) that Emerson had bought,.5 miles (2.4 km) from his family home. 41 Original title page of Walden, with an illustration from a drawing by Thoreau's sister Sophia on July 24 or July 25, 1846, Thoreau ran into the local tax collector, sam Staples, who asked him to pay six years of delinquent poll taxes. Thoreau refused because of his opposition to the mexicanAmerican War and slavery, and he spent a night in jail because of this refusal. The next day thoreau was freed when someone, likely to have been his aunt, paid the tax, against his wishes. 4 The experience had a strong impact on Thoreau. In January and February 1848, he delivered lectures on "The rights and Duties of the Individual in relation to government 42 explaining his tax resistance at the concord Lyceum. Bronson Alcott attended the lecture, writing in his journal on January 26: heard Thoreau's lecture before the lyceum on the relation of the individual to the State—an admirable statement of the rights of the individual to self-government, and an attentive audience.
They held that an ideal spiritual state transcends, or goes beyond, the physical and empirical, and that one achieves that insight via personal intuition rather than religious doctrine. In their view, nature is the outward sign of inward spirit, expressing the "radical correspondence of visible things and human thoughts as Emerson wrote in Nature (1836). Postage stamp honoring Thoreau, designed by leonard Baskin On April 18, 1841, Thoreau moved into the Emerson house. 33 There, from 1841 to 1844, he served as the children's tutor; he was also an editorial assistant, repairman and gardener. For a few months in 1843, he moved to the home of William Emerson on Staten Island, 34 and tutored the family's sons while seeking contacts among literary men and journalists in the city who might help publish his writings, including his future literary representative. 35 :68 Thoreau returned to concord and worked in his family's pencil factory, which he would continue to do alongside his writing and other work for most of his adult life.
He rediscovered the process of making good pencils with inferior graphite by using clay as the binder. This invention allowed profitable use of a graphite source found in New Hampshire that had been purchased in 1821 by Thoreau's brother-in-law, Charles Dunbar. The process of mixing graphite and clay, known as the conté process, had been first patented by nicolas-Jacques Conté in 1795. The company's other source of graphite had been Tantiusques, a mine operated by native americans in Sturbridge, massachusetts. Later, Thoreau converted the pencil factory to produce plumbago, a name for graphite at the time, which was used in the electrotyping process. 36 Once back in Concord, Thoreau went through a restless period. In April 1844 he and his friend Edward hoar accidentally set a fire that consumed 300 acres (1.2 km2) of Walden woods.
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27 28 he died in Henry's arms. 29 Upon graduation Thoreau returned home to concord, where he met Ralph Waldo Emerson through a mutual friend. 16 Emerson, who was 14 years his senior, took a paternal and salon at times patron-like interest in Thoreau, advising the young man and introducing him to a circle of local writers and thinkers, including Ellery Channing, margaret Fuller, bronson Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne and his. Emerson urged Thoreau to contribute essays and poems to a quarterly periodical, The dial, and lobbied the editor, margaret Fuller, to publish those writings. Thoreau's first essay published in The dial was "Aulus Persius Flaccus 30 an essay on the roman playwright, in July 1840. 31 It consisted of revised passages from his journal, which he had begun keeping at Emerson's suggestion. The first journal entry, on October 22, 1837, reads, what are you dates doing now?' he asked. 'do you keep a journal?' so i make my first entry to-day." 32 Thoreau was a philosopher of nature and its relation to the human condition. In his early years he followed Transcendentalism, a loose and eclectic idealist philosophy advocated by Emerson, fuller, and Alcott.
He studied at Harvard College between 18He lived in Hollis Hall and took courses in rhetoric, classics, philosophy, mathematics, and science. Citation needed he was a member of the Institute of 1770 23 (now the hasty pudding Club ). According to legend, Thoreau refused to pay the five-dollar fee (approximately equivalent to 123 in 2017) for a harvard diploma. In fact, the master's degree he declined to purchase had no academic merit: Harvard College offered it to graduates "who proved their physical worth by being alive three years after graduating, and their saving, earning, or inheriting quality or condition by having five dollars. Return to concord, edit The traditional professions open to college graduates—law, the church, business, medicine—did not interest Thoreau, 26 :e took a leave of absence from Harvard, during which he taught school in Canton, massachusetts. After he graduated in 1837, he joined the faculty won of the concord public school, but he resigned after a few weeks rather than administer corporal punishment. 26 :25 he and his brother John then opened the concord Academy, a grammar school in Concord, in 1838. 26 :25 They introduced several progressive concepts, including nature walks and visits to local shops and businesses. The school closed when John became fatally ill from tetanus in 1842 after cutting himself while shaving.
lights, and in others gray,—eyes. 14 Early life and education, edit henry david Thoreau was born david Henry Thoreau 15 in Concord, massachusetts, into the "modest New England family" 16 of John Thoreau, a pencil maker, and Cynthia dunbar. His paternal grandfather had been born on the uk crown dependency island of Jersey. 17 His maternal grandfather, Asa dunbar, led Harvard's 1766 student " Butter Rebellion 18 the first recorded student protest in the American colonies. 19 david Henry was named after his recently deceased paternal uncle, david Thoreau. He began to call himself Henry david after he finished college; he never petitioned to make a legal name change. 20 he had two older siblings, helen and John., and a younger sister, sophia. 21 Thoreau's birthplace still exists on Virginia road in Concord. The house has been restored by the Thoreau farm Trust, 22 a nonprofit organization, and is now open to the public.
3, he was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life's true essential needs. 3 he 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 paper leo tolstoy, mahatma gandhi, and Martin Luther King. 4 Thoreau is sometimes referred to as an anarchist. 5 6 Though "civil Disobedience" seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government—"I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government" 7 —the direction of this improvement contrarily points toward anarchism: That government is best which governs not. Edward Waldo Emerson wrote that the name should be pronounced "Thó-row with the h sounded and stress on the first syllable. 10 Among modern-day american speakers, it is perhaps more commonly pronounced /θəroʊ/ thə-roh —with stress on the second syllable. 11 12 Physical appearance edit Thoreau had a distinctive appearance, with a nose that he called "my most prominent feature." 13 Of his appearance and disposition, Ellery Channing wrote, his face, once seen, could not be forgotten.
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For other uses, see. Henry david Thoreau (see name pronunciation ; July 12, 1817 may 6, 1862) was an American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and plan historian. A leading transcendentalist, 2, thoreau is best known for his book. Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay ". Civil Disobedience " (originally published as "Resistance to civil government an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry amount to more than 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy, in which he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern-day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close observation of nature, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and Yankee attention to practical detail.