Henry David Thoreau

(1816-1862)

  • Title: Walden
  • Author: Henry David Thoreau
  • Publication Date: 1854
  • Publisher: Boston, Ticknor and Fields

Like other Romantics Thoreau created poetry, philosophy, essays, and valued Nature. Of Thoreau Furtak (2019) states, “His experience bore fruit in the 1854 publication of his literary masterpiece Walden, a work that almost defies categorization: it is a work of narrative prose which often sores to poetic heights, combining philosophical speculation with close observation of a concrete place”. Thoreau’s writings were argued and often misunderstood by his contemporaries. His work continues to be debated and to this day.

While Thoreau attempted various occupations, including pencil maker, his main concern was philoscophical thinking and communion with Nature. Pictured below is his home on Walden. (Source: Encyclopedia Brittanica).

Thoreau’s eulogy, written by Emerson, was printed in The Atlantic. Emerson described Thoreau’s unique character, “whilst all his companions were choosing their profession, or eager to begin some lucrative employment, it was inevitable that his thoughts should be exercised on the same question, and it required rare decision to refuse all accustomed paths…He declined to give up his large ambition of knowledge and action of any narrow craft or profession, aiming at a much more comprehensive calling, the art of living well..” (Emerson, 1862).

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