Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 - May 6, 1862; born David Henry Thoreau) was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, and philosopher who is best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, “Civil Disobedience”, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.
- Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854)
- Walden (also known as Walden; or, Life in the Woods) by Henry David Thoreau is one of the best-known non-fiction books written by an American. Published in 1854, it details Thoreau’s life for two years, two months, and two days in second-growth forest around the shores of Walden Pond, on land owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson, not far from his friends and family in Concord, Massachusetts. Walden was written so that the stay appears to be a year, with expressed seasonal divisions. Thoreau called it an experiment in simple living. Thoreau lived in close geographical proximity to the town Concord: “living a mile from any neighbor,” should be taken literally; he lived about a mile from his neighbors. He did not go into the woods to become a hermit, but to isolate himself from civil society in order to gain a more objective understanding of it. Walden is neither a novel nor a true autobiography, but a social critique of much of the contemporary Western World, with its consumerist attitudes and its distance from and destruction of nature.
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