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The Heart of Thoreau's Journals 1st Edition
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I was concerned that the journals might suffer by editing, especially if an academic type with a deconstructionist ax to grind got his hands on them. Mr. Shepard's brief introduction put my mind to rest. He obviously has a close sympathy with the spirit of Henry David Thoreau and his selections are masterful. As Shepard puts it: "With a fit audience, though few, he is likely to win a more thoughtful reading now that individuals are so obviously withering among us, now that men are quite obviously enslaved by machines, now that we have floundered about as far as we can in the bogs of stupidity, greed, and cowering compliance that he warned us against long ago."
If _Walden_ spoke to you, these journal entries will speak even more strongly to you. This is the spring from which _Walden_ and all the rest sprang. This is the soul of Thoreau. It is the soul of the true America before the Byzantine rot set in.
There is one line from the very first year of the journals that has never ceased to inspire me: "All fear of the world or consequences is swallowed up in a manly anxiety to do Truth justice."
No book that I own -- aside from Scripture -- is more valuable to me than this slim one. I have reread it countless times, usually while sitting of a warm or cool evening beneath the trees waiting for the stars to troop out.
In Walden Thoreau speaks of Alexander carrying the Iliad in a precious cask with him on his journeys. This is book worthy to be carried with me on my journey.
As I read and reread this book it causes me to look on everything I have ever thought, done or believed in a new and startlingly new light.
This little paperback is at once one of the cheapest and most valuable books I own.
"Live each season as it passes- breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit and resign yourself to the influences of each. In August, live on berries, not dried meat and pemmican, as if you were on shipboard making your way through a waste ocean. Open all your pores and bathe in all the tides of Nature, in all her streams and oceans, at all seasons.
Grow green with spring, yellow and ripe with Autumn. Drink of each season's influence as a vial, a true panacea of all remedies mixed for your especial use.
Drink the wine, not of your bottling, but of Nature's bottling. Let Nature do your bottling and pickling and preserving. For all Nature is doing her best each moment to make us well.She exists for no other end. Do not resist her. With the least inclination to be well, we should not be sick. Why, "Nature" is but another name for health, and the seasons are but different states of health."
There are 228 pages filled with this kind of wisdom- What a bargain for eight bucks!!
Consolidated into 218 concise pages by Odell Shepard from the thirty-nine volumes Thoreau left behind upon his death at forty-five in 1862, the journals reveal Thoreau as an irreverent and shrewd observer of the human character who was happily fated with the gift of forever seeing the king riding proudly in public without clothes ("The mass never comes up the standard of its best member, but on the contrary degrades itself to the level with the lowest," "After all, the field of battle possesses many advantages over the drawing-room. There is at least no room for pretension or excessive ceremony, no shaking of hands or rubbing of noses, which makes one doubt your sincerity, but hearty as well as hard hand-play. It at least exhibits one of the faces of humanity, the former only a mask," "This lament for a golden age is only a lament for golden men").
Requiring solitude in the manner most require food and shelter, the philosophical, ascetic Thoreau lived most of his life in isolation ("The poet must keep himself unstained and aloof") as an ardent lover and keen observer of the natural world ("All of nature is my bride," "My profession is to be always on the alert to find God in nature, to know his lurking-places, to attend all the oratorios, the operas, in nature").Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thoreau fans will like it a lot. If you're not one then don't bother. I love HDT but this one left me dissatisfied.Published 3 months ago by Davey
Everything Thoreau always creates thoughtful processes within my mind.Published 13 months ago by Robere Le Huquet
Reading Thoreau is simply sublime. In my view, he, Twain and Lincoln were the greatest American prose writers, certainly in the 19th century, but perhaps of all time. Read morePublished 20 months ago by David H. Eisenberg
Henry David Thoreau kept a journal for 24 years, starting at the age of 20. He died in the spring of 1862. His life began and ended in Concord. Read morePublished on May 19, 2012 by A. Lex Russell
I had to buy this book for a class I was taking called "Nature Literature". I am so happy I bought the book and took the class. Read morePublished on January 7, 2010 by Laura B.
Thoreau's journals ran to two million words and contained survey information and other matter most readers would not find interesting. Read morePublished on May 7, 2008 by Craig Chalquist, PhD, author of TERRAPSYCHOLOGY and DEEP CALIFORNIA
How could this man have read every thought of mine over 100 years before my birth?! Timeless truth in all of his writings...not just this one. Read morePublished on June 11, 2007 by fascinated observer
We all know Walden and some of the other famous essays but the journals are sometimes hard to get through. Read morePublished on February 6, 2007 by Paul Rowe