Essays By Henry David Thoreau

Essays By Henry David Thoreau-49
But Thoreau uses their journey both to mourn and remember his brother and to explore the philosophical and social questions at the core of his thought, the relationship between the self and nature, the history of Euro-American exploitation of American nature and its native inhabitants, and the connection between specific locales and times and the eternal and the universal.During the same year of the publication , Thoreau produced his most famous essay, “Resistance to Civil Government,” better known now by the title “Civil Disobedience.” “Resistance to Civil Government,” with its argument that the individual conscience trumps man-made laws when those laws become the machinery of injustice, has influenced a number of important political activists, most famously Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.Thoreau's ideal reader was expected to be well versed in Greek and Latin, poetry and travel narrative, and politically engaged in current affairs.

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Richardson, author of Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind“This thoughtfully-edited gathering of Thoreau's essays will surely be of great interest both to Thoreauvians and to readers approaching his work for the first time.” —Lawrence Buell, Harvard University, author of The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture“[This book is] much enhanced by Hyde's intelligent and entertaining introduction.

He has collected thirteen of Thoreau's essays but has chosen to depart from the customary practice of separating 'nature' essays from 'political' essays, instead arranging them in the order of their composition.

While many of Emerson’s essays and lectures tend to focus on abstract ideas, principles, and social positions as indicated by their very titles—“Self-Reliance,” “Compensation,” and “The Poet”—Thoreau’s writings ground themselves in specific experience and particular locales, as indicated by the two books he published during his life time: .

Also unlike Emerson, who would achieve great fame as a lecturer and essayist, Thoreau would remain relatively obscure during his lifetime, even as he circulated among the most important literary circles of his age.

But as significant as that philosophical basis is to Thoreau’s activity, the material nature of his activity may be more important.

For Thoreau, the material world and his interaction with it become central in a way that the world never seems to be quite so real in Emerson’s writings.

While Emerson’s influence can be felt in many of Thoreau’s writings, their relationship was not always easy and Thoreau departs from Emerson in significant ways.

Thoreau’s time at Walden Pond and the experience he records of being jailed for not paying taxes in “Resistance to Civil Government” (“Civil Disobedience”) can be readily understood as putting Emerson’s philosophy of self-reliance into material practice.

Hyde diverges from the long-standing and dubious editorial custom of separating Thoreau's politics from his interest in nature, a division that has always obscured the ways in which the two are constantly entwined.

"Natural History of Massachusetts" begins not with fish and birds but with a dismissal of the political world, and "Slavery in Massachusetts" ends with a meditation on the water lilies blooming on the Concord River.

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