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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. (Bowker Author Biography)
— Biografie von Walden oder Leben in den Wäldern
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Walden oder Leben in den Wäldern 12,812 Exemplare, 168 Rezensionen
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Civil Disobedience and Other Essays 1,607 Exemplare, 11 Rezensionen
Walden and Other Writings 1,374 Exemplare, 9 Rezensionen
Walking 800 Exemplare, 18 Rezensionen
The Portable Thoreau 787 Exemplare, 4 Rezensionen
Cape Cod 725 Exemplare, 9 Rezensionen
Walden and other writings 724 Exemplare, 5 Rezensionen
The Maine Woods 703 Exemplare, 5 Rezensionen
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers 598 Exemplare, 9 Rezensionen
Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition 575 Exemplare, 7 Rezensionen
Thoreau on Man and Nature 376 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Collected Essays and Poems 326 Exemplare, 2 Rezensionen
Where I Lived, and What I Lived For 303 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Wilde Früchte 264 Exemplare, 2 Rezensionen
The Journal, 1837–1861 233 Exemplare, 5 Rezensionen
Reflections at Walden 134 Exemplare
Letters to a Spiritual Seeker 132 Exemplare, 3 Rezensionen
Excursions 119 Exemplare, 2 Rezensionen
Henry David's House 118 Exemplare, 2 Rezensionen
Civil Disobedience / Reading (Autor) 94 Exemplare
Works of Henry David Thoreau 86 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
The Works of Henry David Thoreau 65 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Journal 58 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Wild Apples 57 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Thoreau on Birds 52 Exemplare
Autumnal Tints 50 Exemplare
Men of Concord 46 Exemplare
Friendship and Other Essays 42 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
The Works of Henry David Thoreau 39 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
The Illuminated Walden 37 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Canoeing in the Wilderness 36 Exemplare, 2 Rezensionen
A Yankee in Canada 30 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Thoreau's animals 29 Exemplare, 2 Rezensionen
Thoreau's Wildflowers 29 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Collected Poems of Henry Thoreau 29 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
The River 23 Exemplare
Ktaadn 15 Exemplare
Un paseo invernal 12 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Summer 11 Exemplare
Friendship 11 Exemplare
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Musketaquid 8 Exemplare
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A Winter Walk 6 Exemplare
Journal, Volume 3 6 Exemplare
Journal, Volume 5 5 Exemplare
Lob der Wildnis 5 Exemplare
Voisins animaux 4 Exemplare
Walden Illustrated 3 Exemplare
El gran invierno 3 Exemplare
Translations 3 Exemplare
Marcher 3 Exemplare
Pensées sauvages 3 Exemplare
American Fields and Forests 3 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Marcher 3 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Sir Walter Raleigh 3 Exemplare
Thoreau on writing 3 Exemplare
Journal, Volume 6 3 Exemplare
Vida salvaje, La 2 Exemplare
Sivil Itaatsizlik 2 Exemplare
Poems of Nature 2 Exemplare
Journal, 1837-1852 2 Exemplare
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The service 2 Exemplare
La No-violencia, arma política 2 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
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Toulky přírodou 2 Exemplare
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Journal 1844-1846 2 Exemplare
Nature and Walking 2 Exemplare
Essais 2 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Kring Bellman 1 Exemplar
Opere scelte 1 Exemplar
Works of Thoreau 1 Exemplar
Nature Walking 1 Exemplar
Spring 1 Exemplar
Yürümek 1 Exemplar
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Desobedecendo 1 Exemplar
Woodshed 1 Exemplar
Walden 1 Exemplar
Concord Idealism 1 Exemplar
On Water 1 Exemplar
The Landlord 1 Exemplar
Passejades 1 Exemplar
Kein Titel 1 Exemplar
Huckleberries 1 Exemplar
Cape Cod, vol. 1 1 Exemplar
Cape Cod, vol. 2 1 Exemplar
Walden, Volume 2 1 Exemplar
The moon 1 Exemplar
Thoreau's Journals (Autor) 1 Exemplar
Desobeir 1 Exemplar
The Writings VI 1 Exemplar
The Art of the Personal Essay (Mitwirkender) 1,267 Exemplare, 8 Rezensionen
Essays: English and American (Mitwirkender) 558 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists (Mitwirkender, einige Ausgaben) 517 Exemplare, 8 Rezensionen
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Writing New York: A Literary Anthology (Mitwirkender) 260 Exemplare, 4 Rezensionen
The Heath Anthology of American Literature 1: 001 (Mitwirkender, einige Ausgaben) 242 Exemplare
The Literary Cat (Mitwirkender) 226 Exemplare
The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse (Mitwirkender) 218 Exemplare, 2 Rezensionen
American Religious Poems: An Anthology (Mitwirkender) 148 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
A Comprehensive Anthology of American Poetry (Mitwirkender) 124 Exemplare, 2 Rezensionen
The Anarchist Reader (Autor, einige Ausgaben) 114 Exemplare
The Anarchists (Mitwirkender) 102 Exemplare
The Standard Book of British and American Verse (Mitwirkender) 102 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Winter: A Spiritual Biography of the Season (Mitwirkender) 101 Exemplare, 2 Rezensionen
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Selected Writings of the American Transcendentalists (Mitwirkender) 58 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Autumn: A Spiritual Biography of the Season (Mitwirkender) 55 Exemplare, 2 Rezensionen
Civil Disobedience: Theory and Practice (Mitwirkender) 55 Exemplare
Range of Philosophy (Mitwirkender) 47 Exemplare
The Book of the Sea (Mitwirkender) 35 Exemplare
The Signet Book of American Essays (Mitwirkender) 33 Exemplare
American Literature: The Makers and the Making (In Two Volumes) (Mitwirkender, einige Ausgaben) 25 Exemplare
The Seas of God: Great Stories of the Human Spirit (Mitwirkender) 24 Exemplare, 2 Rezensionen
Classic Essays in English (Mitwirkender) 22 Exemplare
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Trees: A Celebration (Mitwirkender) 12 Exemplare
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Christmas Classics: Stories for the Whole Family (Mitwirkender) 10 Exemplare, 1 Rezension
Suspense: A Treasury for Young Adults (Mitwirkender) 6 Exemplare
America's Great Wilderness (Mitwirkender) 5 Exemplare
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Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American essayist, poet, and philosopher. A leading transcendentalist, he is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay "Civil Disobedience" (originally published as "Resistance to Civil Government"), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.

Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry amount to more than 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy, in which he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern-day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close observation of nature, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and attention to practical detail. He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life's true essential needs.

He was a lifelong abolitionist, delivering lectures that attacked the Fugitive Slave Law while praising the writings of Wendell Phillips and defending the abolitionist John Brown. Thoreau's philosophy of civil disobedience later influenced the political thoughts and actions of such notable figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr.

Thoreau is sometimes referred to as an anarchist. Though "Civil Disobedience" seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government—"I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government"—the direction of this improvement contrarily points toward anarchism: "'That government is best which governs not at all;' and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."
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