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Thoreau’s literary classic, an elegantly written record of his experiment in simple living, has engaged readers and thinkers for a century and a half. This edition of Walden is the first to set forth an authoritative text with generous annotations. Thoreau scholar Jeffrey S. Cramer has meticulously corrected errors and omissions from previous editions of Walden and here provides illuminating notes ...
Thoreau’s literary classic, an elegantly written record of his experiment in simple living, has engaged readers and thinkers for a century and a half. This edition of Walden is the first to set forth an authoritative text with generous annotations. Thoreau scholar Jeffrey S. Cramer has meticulously corrected errors and omissions from previous editions of Walden and here provides illuminating notes on the biographical, historical, and geographical contexts of Thoreau’s life.
Cramer’s newly edited text is based on the original 1854 edition of Walden, with emendations taken from Thoreau’s draft manuscripts, his own markings on the page proofs, and notes in his personal copy of the book. In the editor’s notes to the volume, Cramer quotes from sources Thoreau actually read, showing how he used, interpreted, and altered these sources. Cramer also glosses Walden with references to Thoreau’s essays, journals, and correspondence. With the wealth of material in this edition, readers will find an unprecedented opportunity to immerse themselves in the unique and fascinating world of Thoreau. Anyone who has read and loved Walden will want to own and treasure this gift edition. Those wishing to read Walden for the first time will not find a better guide than Jeffrey S. Cramer.
When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months. At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again.
I should not obtrude my affairs so much on the notice of my readers if very particular inquiries had not been made by my townsmen concerning my mode of life, which some would call impertinent, though they do not appear to me at all impertinent, but, considering the circumstances, very natural and pertinent. Some have asked what I got to eat; if I did not feel lonesome; if I was not afraid; and the like. Others have been curious to learn what portion of my income I devoted to charitable purposes; and some, who have large families, how many poor children I maintained. I will therefore ask those of my readers who feel no particular interest in me to pardon me if I undertake to answer some of these questions in this book. In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism, is the main difference. We commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking. I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience. Moreover, I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men's lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land; for if he has lived sincerely, it must have been in a distant land to me. Perhaps these pages are more particularly addressed to poor students. As for the rest of my readers, they will accept such portions as apply to them. I trust that none will stretch the seams in putting on the coat, for it may do good service to him whom it fits.
I would fain say something, not so much concerning the Chinese and Sandwich Islanders as you who read these pages, who are said to live in New England; something about your condition, especially your outward condition or circumstances in this world, in this town, what it is, whether it is necessary that it be as bad as it is, whether it cannot be improved as well as not. I have travelled a good deal in Concord; and everywhere, in shops, and offices, and fields, the inhabitants have appeared to me to be doing penance in a thousand remarkable ways. What I have heard of Bramins sitting exposed to four fires and looking in the face of the sun; or hanging suspended, with their heads downward, over flames; or looking at the heavens over their shoulders "until it becomes impossible for them to resume their natural position, while from the twist of the neck nothing but liquids can pass into the stomach"; or dwelling, chained for life, at the foot of a tree; or measuring with their bodies, like caterpillars, the breadth of vast empires; or standing on one leg on the tops of pillarseven these forms of conscious penance are hardly more incredible and astonishing than the scenes which I daily witness. The twelve labors of Hercules were trifling in comparison with those which my neighbors have undertaken; for they were only twelve, and had an end; but I could never see that these men slew or captured any monster or finished any labor. They have no friend Iolaus to burn with a hot iron the root of the hydra's head, but as soon as one head is crushed, two spring up.
I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle, and farming tools; for these are more easily acquired than got rid of. Better if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf, that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labor in. Who made them serfs of the soil? Why should they eat their sixty acres, when man is condemned to eat only his peck of dirt? Why should they begin digging their graves as soon as they are born? They have got to live a man's life, pushing all these things before them, and get on as well as they can. How many a poor immortal soul have I met well-nigh crushed and smothered under its load, creeping down the road of life, pushing before it a barn seventy-five feet by forty, its Augean stables never cleansed, and one hundred acres of land, tillage, mowing, pasture, and woodlot! The portionless, who struggle with no such unnecessary inherited encumbrances, find it labor enough to subdue and cultivate a few cubic feet of flesh.
But men labor under a mistake. The better part of the man is soon plowed into the soil for compost. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed, as it says in an old book, laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool's life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before.
Excerpted from Walden by Henry David Thoreau Copyright © 1987 by Henry David Thoreau. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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|Where I lived, and what I lived for||78|
|Former inhabitants; and winter visitors||246|
|The pond in winter||273|
Posted March 25, 2003
When I read Thoreau¿s book Walden, I was amazed to learn that Thoreau¿s writing had such a great influence on such men as Mohandas Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King. They Read Thoreau¿s book on Civil Disobedience, which advocated Passive resistance. (Peaceful protest). Another thing that surprised me was the way that Emerson and James Russell Lowell degraded Thoreau in their speeches at Henry¿s memorial service upon his death. During the memorial these two so-called friends of Thoreau called him a lazy braggart, a societies maverick & A drop out! Perhaps by societies standards he was a rebel but certainly not the worthless ne¿er do well that these men painted him. Thoreau sets out to build a cabin on Walden Pond in order to be at one with nature. Thoreau was at heart a naturalist. He resisted paying a tax which he spent one night in the Concord Jail. This was to prove a point. He lived at Walden Pond for 2 years. Upon returning to society, he continued to write his books. He said that, ¿most men lead lives of quiet desperation.¿ Henry David Thoreau was born July 12, 1817 And died May 6,1862 of T.B. He built his cabin on March 1845 at Walden Pond at a cost of $28,12 & half cents. Thoreau started out life in the Transcendentalist movement but He later departed from this group. He was a genius that was unappreciated in his day.
20 out of 24 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 5, 2010
I recently had the pleasure of reading this fine book authored by Henry David Thoreau. This book has garnered a fair bit of controversy among those who have read it. Its a love it or hate it sort of book, and one must have an open mind truly appreciate the book. Inclosed in Walden, is the author's deep personal thoughts and beliefs, with his own unique brand of philosophy. Thoreau has a one of a kind writing style I have never seen outside of his own work. For his time, he probably would have been described as edgy, and without bounds. Enough of my own subjective opinion, lets take an analytical look at this interesting piece of American literature.
In the first chapter in this book, our author in detail, describes his intentions to build a cabin and live off the land of Walden Pond. This was not in any way a new concept, as much of America lived in this rural way, but what sets Thoreau apart is he documented and wrote about his experience. Henry Thoreau believed he was making an attempt at achieving a purer form of lifestyle. Also included in this first chapter is the exact cost the author payed to appropriate his desired lifestyle in the form of the price of the materials paid to construct his dwelling, and precise accounts of price paid for the modest amount of food Thoreau purchased on his occasional visits into town.
Often throughout the book, Henry Thoreau will enclose his own thoughts on certain topics. In on section, he reminisces on a time he spent in jail for a refusal to pay a state tax. This is just the sort of rebellion Thoreau would approve of. He held the view that the "savage" (as indians were apparently called during that time), lived a purer and less corrupt form of lifestyle. This opinion was formed by the reflection of the average man's life at the time. A man would work to afford a home, work to afford and buy all of these things that the author though to be unnecessary or too luxurious than needed. A "savage" simply made what he needed, he would never become a "slave" to any type of property owner or tax man.
Henry David Thoreau had a unique and one of a kind form of philosophy. One finds it difficult to approximately and descisivly label his beliefs. Our author believed that each person should live by their own means, and their own way. Rejection of society norms was not necessarily a give-in to his school of thought, so long as those norms suited that individual. It is quite easy to dismiss Henry Thoreau as an antisocial misfit, but there is evidence in the book that he made frequent trips into town, and mentioned elsewhere he would have visitors at his home, and would seek to visit others. So this kind of belief form could really be best described as "to each his own", and to do only what you believe in and want to do. Lastly, self-sufficiency was stressed greatly, and is a great proponent to this way of thinking, as one who acts alone needs to be able to provide for themselves.
Overall this was a very interesting book to read, and brings many things into questioning. It is a thinking person's book, and I enjoyed it greatly. Few authors have such a notoriety to just one book, and next to Civil Disobedience, it is his most famous work. All outdoor enthusiasts, fans of old literature, anarchists, and people with an offbeat point of view, will likely greatly appreciate and enjoy this great book by a man remembered mainly only for his be
12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 3, 2010
Walden was written as a backlash against consumerism and conformity. Thoreau built his own house with affordable and left over materials and sustained himself for a very small amount of money. The philosophy that he offers is one that many of us could benefit in listening to. Do we really need the most expensive cell phone on the market, or will the free model do? Do we really need a designer bag? Does it make us any happier to buy a house that is so elaborate it will add ten more years before we can retire?
Walden questions what is truly important in life and what things are unnecessary burdens that we allow society to place on us.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 29, 2000
This book manages to pass on more wisdom and inspiration then any other work I can think of. It will convict you into living life, it will cause you to see the world as a place of wonder and oppotunity. Only to be read with an open mind.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 6, 2014
Posted July 3, 2014
When I read Walden, it felt like Thoreau was filled with a deep sense of leisure that was wrought with an emotional and compassionate link to nature. The book was sprinkled with his usual irony, and like nature, Thoreau's beautiful melodic rhythym of writing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 20, 2013
"Walden" is the most important book ever written and published in the United States. Advocating simplicity of life, Thoreau has written America's
most anti-American and anti-capitalist book. He was the last man to think hard about what life is actually for. He said he "wanted to drive life into a corner, to see whether it be mean or sublime." He said he "liked to have a broad margin to his life" which meant that he worked only a few hours a day for absolute necessities, so he could spend the rest of his time doing the things that interested him. In our busy, busy, rush, rush, smogbound world, Henry Thoreau was a breath of fresh air, a truly independent soul, who allowed no one else to do his thinking for him. He was the last real American, and he made an indelible impression on my life. I have re-read Walden every single year of my life, and am always the better for it.
Posted December 11, 2013
Posted August 26, 2010
Posted February 20, 2010
no need to add my accolades for the content, but there are so many different editions I wanted to say the Yale edition has been my favorite, and this was a replacement copy for one that got wet on a camping trip.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 8, 2008
The Japan & Stuff Press version of 'Walden' is a retelling of the first two chapters of the original for people, younger or older, who find Thoreau's prose intimidating. This fact is clearly stated on the front and back jackets and in the foreword to the book. If you happen to fit into this category of reader, then the book is well worth having. Even though this 'Walden' is a retelling, the intellectual content has not been diluted.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 13, 2004
The contex of Walden is simply fascinating! For Thoreau built a house on Walden Pond in 1845 for minimal costs. He lived away from society for two years in a very primitive fashion. During this time period he studied mostly ecology and wrote a wonderful piece of literature. Although society in his day was unappreciative of his work he later became famous in the 20th century. Many people hear the saying, 'an artist isn't truley appreciated until after his/her death,' to be true. For Henry David Thoreau nothing could be closer to the truth. He is an inspirational writer and I highly recommend this book for anyone who needs a little inspiration.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 12, 2003
Walden has some great ideas and theories about life. Sometimes, he gets a little wordy though. I definately think this is a worthwhile book to read as far as descriptive literature goes. It is also interesting to read about his thoughts and activities while alone in the woods for so long. His comments on possessions, food, and clothing ring true, but are a little extreme.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 8, 2003
When I read the previous pages I became a more imfomed and superior human-being. I even went to Concord to see Thoreau's enviroment in person. We all need to be inspired.....and this book can do just that.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 1, 2002
I just recently finished the book Walden by Henry Thoreau. The Charles E. Tuttle Co. Inc published Walden and was copy written in 1854. He goes into much detail in his 281 pages. Truthfully, the book was good, but written in too much detail. But I did like the theme as to ¿finding truth about oneself.¿ Also, the book is full of metaphors, imagery, and comparisons. Walden is a nonfiction book mainly about the changing of the seasons while he is at Walden Pond in Massachusetts during the years 1845 to 1847. He also wants the reader to seek a higher level of existence in a natural way. He studies mainly ecology, with the changing of seasons and changes within (colors, hibernation, etc.). Thoreau is the only character in the book, in which he is seeking self-improvement and self-realization. Overall, the book touches upon ecological studies and improvement of oneself. He brings to the reader the greatness and beauty of nature at a personal level. Finally, I recommend this book to people who enjoy deep detail on nature and enjoy ecology.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 14, 2010
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Posted February 14, 2011
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Posted March 19, 2010
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Posted November 6, 2008
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Posted January 1, 2010
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