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The Heart of Thoreau's Journals 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0486207414
ISBN-10: 0486207412
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, and philosopher, who is best known for his works Waldena treatise about living in concert with the natural worldand Civil Disobedience, in which he espoused the need to morally resist the actions of an unjust state. Thoreau s work heavily reflects the ideologies of the American transcendentalists, and he has long been considered a leading figure in the movement along with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, and, at first, Nathaniel Hawthorne (who changed his views later in life). In addition to his writing, which totaled more than twenty volumes, Thoreau was an active abolitionist, and lectured regularly against the Fugitive Slave Law. Thoreau died in 1862, and is buried along with Louisa May Alcott, Ellery Channing, and other notable Americans in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; 1st edition (June 1, 1961)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486207412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486207414
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #615,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was a writer and philosopher as well as a naturalist. Walden is considered his masterpiece.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I once sat through a very snide speech, by a very snide editor, who pontificated in a very snide manner, that "no one wants to read your journals." This editor was of course a fool- the very best writing is to be found in personal journals. Nowhere is this demonstrated to be more true than in Thoreau's. Or as he himself put it,"The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience." Well, these writings inflame the mind. Thoreau was that rarest of of divine gifts, a true Individual. I often wonder if he did not represent the highest point that anyone in our society ever reached- the high water mark of a civilization before steam engines, corporations, and mass education reduced us to our present state.

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."
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Format: Paperback
"The words of some men are thrown forcibly against you and adhere like burs." Thoreau's Journal, June 4, 1839. This is certainly true with me and this book.
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.
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Format: Paperback
I have read most of Thoreau's works, including his journals. The Heart of Thoureau's Journals expands on his themes without having to go through the minatue of his daily writings. Here's a sample- you be the judge:
"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!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'The Heart Of Thoreau's Journals' provides readers with an intimate glimpse into the heart and mind of American literature's premier individualist.

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").
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