Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Other Writings

ISBN-10: 0393930904

ISBN-13: 9780393930900

Edition: 3rd 2007

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This revised and expanded Norton Critical Edition reprints the texts of "Walden, Civil Disobedience, Slavery in Massachusetts, Walking," and "Wild Apples," All are annotated for student readers. Also included are related selections from Thoreau's "Journal," "Reviews and Posthumous Assessments" includes reactions to Thoreau and his writing by Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, and James Burroughs, among others. "Recent Criticism" presents the best critical writing on the texts in this volume. F. O Matthiessen, E. B. White, Leo Marx, Stanley Cavell, Barbara Johnson, Laura Dassow Walls, Laurence Buell, Neill Matheson, and William Rossi are among the nineteen contributors. About the Series: No other series of classic texts equals the caliber of the Norton Critical Editions. Each volume combines the most authoritative text available with the comprehensive pedagogical apparatus necessary to appreciate the work fully. Careful editing, first-rate translation, and thorough explanatory annotations allow each text to meet the highest literary standards while remaining accessible to students. Each edition is printed on acid-free paper and every text in the series remains in print. Norton Critical Editions are the choice for excellence in scholarship for students at more than 2,000 universities worldwide.
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Book details

Edition: 3rd
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated
Publication date: 3/4/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 688
Size: 5.20" wide x 8.40" long x 1.40" tall
Weight: 1.650
Language: English

In September 1842, Nathaniel Hawthorne noted this social encounter in his journal: "Mr. Thorow dined with us yesterday. He is a singular character---a young man with much of wild original nature still remaining in him; and so far as he is sophisticated, it is in a way and method of his own. He is as ugly as sin, long-nosed, queer-mouthed, and with uncouth and somewhat rustic, although courteous manners, corresponding very well with such an exterior. But his ugliness is of an honest and agreeable fashion, and becomes him much better than beauty. On the whole, I find him a healthy and wholesome man to know." Most responses to Thoreau are as ambiguously respectful as was Hawthorne's. Thoreau was neither an easy person to like nor an easy writer to read. Thoreau described himself as a mystic, a Transcendentalist, and a natural philosopher. He is a writer of essays about nature---not of facts about it but of his ideals and emotions in its presence. His wish to understand nature led him to Walden Pond, where he lived from 1845 to 1847 in a cabin that he built. Though he was an educated man with a Harvard degree, fluent in ancient and modern German, he preferred to study nature by living "a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust." Knowing this, we should beware of misreading the book that best reflected this great experience in Thoreau's life: Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854). It is not a handbook of the simple life. Though there are elements in the book of a "whole-earth catalogue" mentality, to focus on the radical "economic" aspects of Thoreau's work is to miss much in the book. Nor is it an autobiography. The right way to read Walden is as a "transcendental" narrative prose poem, whose hero is a man named Henry, a modern Odysseus in search of a "true America." Thoreau left Walden Pond on September 6, 1846, exactly two years, two months, and two days after he had settled there. As he explained in the pages of Walden: "I left the woods for as good a reason as I went to live there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one." Growth, change, and development were essential to his character. One should not overlook the significance of his selecting July 4 as the day for taking possession of his residence at Walden Pond, a day that celebrates the establishment of a new government whose highest ideal is individual freedom. In terms of Thoreau's redefinition of the nation-idea, "the only true America" is that place where one may grow wild according to one's nature, where one may "enjoy the land, but own it not." Thoreau believed that each person should live according to individual conscience, willing to oppose the majority if necessary. An early proponent of nonviolent resistance, he was jailed briefly for refusing to pay his poll tax to support the Mexican War and the slave system that had promoted that war. His essay "On Civil Disobedience" (1849), which came from this period of passive resistance, was acknowledged by Mahatma Gandhi (who read it in a South African jail) as the basis for his campaign to free India. Martin Luther King, Jr. later attributed to Thoreau and Gandhi the inspiration for his leadership in the civil rights movement in the United States. Thoreau contracted tuberculosis in 1835 and suffered from it sporadically afterwards. His health declined over three years with brief periods of remission, until he eventually became bedridden. Recognizing the terminal nature of his disease, Thoreau spent his last years revising and editing his unpublished works, particularly The Maine Woods and Excursions, and petitioning publishers to print revised editions of A Week and Walden. He died on May 6, 1862 at age 44.

Map of Thoreau's Concord
The Texts of Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Other Writings
Map of Walden Pond
Textual Appendix to Walden
Other Writings
Civil Disobedience
Slavery in Massachusetts
Wild Apples
The Journal and Walden
Selections from the Journal, 1845-54
Reviews and Posthumous Assessments
Review of Walden
Review of Walden
Review of Walden
Review of Walden
A Yankee Diogenes
Review of Walden
Review of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers and Walden
Review of Walden
Review of Excursions
Review of Excursions
Review of Excursions
Review of A Yankee in Canada, with Anti-Slavery and Reform Papers
Review of A Yankee in Canada, with Anti-Slavery and Reform Papers
Another Word on Thoreau
Modern Criticism
Walden: Craftsmanship vs. Technique
Walden - 1954
Walden's Transcendental Pastoral Design
Captivity and Despair in Walden and "Civil Disobedience"
A Hound, a Bay Horse, and a Turtle Dove: Obscurity in Walden
The Remaking of Walden
The Worlding of Walden
Walden as Feminist Manifesto
Thoreau and the Natural Environment
"Civil Disobedience" and "Slavery in Massachusetts"
Thoreau's Politics of the Upright Man
Thoreau's Narrative Art in "Civil Disobedience"
The Price of Privilege: "Civil Disobedience" at 150
Quiet War with the State: Henry Thoreau and Civil Disobedience
Fourth of July
"Walking" and "Wild Apples"
"The Limits of an Afternoon Walk": Coleridgean Polarity in Thoreau's "Walking"
Thoreau's Gramatica Parda: Conjugating Race and Nature
The Language of Prophecy: Thoreau's "Wild Apples"
Capitalism and Community in Walden and Wild Fruits
Henry D. Thoreau: A Chronology
Selected Bibliography
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