Henry David Thoreau: Spiritual and Prophetic Writings

Henry David Thoreau: Spiritual and Prophetic Writings


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Henry David Thoreau (l817-1862), embodied classic features of the American spirit-nonconformity, the impulse to seek renewal in nature, and the will to stand firm by his convictions. Famous for his retreat to Walden Pond and his night in jail (described in "The Duty of Civil Disobedience"), he was a profoundly religious man, though he remained unaffiliated with any organized religion. He might well serve as a patron saint for today's "spiritual but not religious" seekers. Thoreau experienced mystical ecstasies in his youth he followed an almost monastic discipline of contemplation; he was an early pioneer in the exploration of Hinduism and Eastern religion, which lie integrated with his deep immersion in nature and his highly refined social conscience. This anthology, which focuses specific attention on Thoreau's spiritual and prophetic writings, draws on his voluminous journals, correspondence, essays, and selections from Walden and other key works.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626981102
Publisher: Orbis Books
Publication date: 02/28/2015
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Massachusetts native Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was a leading member of the American Transcendentalist movement, whose faith in nature was tested while Thoreau lived in a homemade hut at Walden Pond between 1845 and 1847. While there, Thoreau worked on the two books published in his lifetime: Walden and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. The Maine Woods, Cape Cod, Excursions, and other works were published posthumously.

Date of Birth:

July 12, 1817

Date of Death:

May 6, 1862

Place of Birth:

Concord, Massachusetts

Place of Death:

Concord, Massachusetts


Concord Academy, 1828-33); Harvard University, 1837

Table of Contents

Sources vii

Introduction: Henry Thoreau's Profession 1

1 The Streams of My Life: Journal and Letters 27

Heaven Is the Inmost Place (1837-1842) 28

The Presence of My Kindred (1843-1850) 40

Traces of the Ineffable (1851) 49

The Deeps of Silence (1852-1862) 62

2 Essentials 84

Higher Laws 84

Simple Living 88

The Heavenly and the Terrestrial 90

Solitude and Silence 94

Friendship 98

3 The Spiritual Life 101

Contemplation 101

Spiritual Practices 103

Poverty 105

Continence 107

Obedience to Conscience 110

Transcendence 111

4 Sacred Nature 116

The Mansions of Our Father's House 116

All Good Things Are Wild 118

No Higher Heaven 120

15 God, Religion, and Time 122

The Ideal and the Actual 122

The Divine 124

Religion 125

The East 127

God Culminates in the Present Moment 130

Nature Never Makes Haste 132

The Law of Their Death Is the Law of New Life 134

6 Essays 137

Life without Principle 137

Civil Disobedience 147

Walking 159

7 Walden 173

Solitude 173

Conclusion 181

Notes 195

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