Henry David Thoreau

related topics
{son, year, death}
{theory, work, human}
{work, book, publish}
{black, white, people}
{land, century, early}
{water, park, boat}
{food, make, wine}
{@card@, make, design}
{god, call, give}
{rate, high, increase}
{day, year, event}
{build, building, house}
{school, student, university}
{government, party, election}
{specie, animal, plant}
{film, series, show}
{woman, child, man}
{township, household, population}

Thoreau needed to concentrate and get himself working more on his writing. In March 1845, Ellery Channing told Thoreau, "Go out upon that, build yourself a hut, & there begin the grand process of devouring yourself alive. I see no other alternative, no other hope for you."[29] Two months later, Thoreau embarked on a two-year experiment in simple living on July 4, 1845, when he moved to a small, self-built house on land owned by Emerson in a second-growth forest around the shores of Walden Pond. The house was in "a pretty pasture and woodlot" of 14 acres (57,000 m2) that Emerson had bought,[30] 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from his family home.[31]

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 Mexican-American War and slavery, and he spent a night in jail because of this refusal. (The next day Thoreau was freed, against his wishes, when his aunt paid his taxes.[32]) 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"[33] explaining his tax resistance at the Concord Lyceum. Bronson Alcott attended the lecture, writing in his journal on January 26:

Thoreau revised the lecture into an essay entitled Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience). In May 1849 it was published by Elizabeth Peabody in the Aesthetic Papers. Thoreau had taken up a version of Percy Shelley's principle in the political poem The Mask of Anarchy (1819), that Shelley begins with the powerful images of the unjust forms of authority of his time – and then imagines the stirrings of a radically new form of social action.[35]

At Walden Pond, he completed a first draft of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, an elegy to his brother, John, that described their 1839 trip to the White Mountains. Thoreau did not find a publisher for this book and instead printed 1,000 copies at his own expense, though fewer than 300 were sold.[23]:234 Thoreau self-published on the advice of Emerson, using Emerson's own 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.[23]:244 At Emerson's request, he immediately moved back into the Emerson house to help Lidian manage the household while her husband was on an extended trip to Europe.[36] Over several years, he worked to pay off his debts and also continuously revised his manuscript for what, in 1854, he would publish as Walden, or Life in the Woods, recounting the two years, two months, and two days he had spent at Walden Pond. The book compresses that time into a single calendar year, using the passage of 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.

Full article ▸

related documents
Denis Diderot
Aldous Huxley
Henry Vaughan
Robert Chambers
Moses Mendelssohn
Michel de Montaigne
W. H. Auden
Georg Forster
Petrarch
Friedrich Schiller
H. L. Mencken
Jean Racine
Thomas Hardy
Robert Hooke
Alexander von Humboldt
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Evelyn Waugh
Quintilian
Samuel Richardson
Allen Ginsberg
Julian Huxley
John Dryden
W. H. R. Rivers
Ezra Pound
Mary Baker Eddy
Richard II (play)
Waverley (novel)
Maxim Gorky
Gary Snyder
Virginia Woolf