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Walden and Civil Disobedience (Barnes & Noble Classics) Paperback – January 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1593082086 ISBN-10: 1593082088

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble Classics (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593082088
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593082086
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #741,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Economy. Where I Lived, And What I lived For. Reading. Sounds. Solitude. Visitors. The Bean-Field. The Village. The Ponds. Baker Farm. Higher Laws. Brute Neighbors. House-Warming. Former Inhabitants; And Winter Visitors. Winter Animals. The Pond in Winter. Spring. Conclusion. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1817. He graduated from Harvard in 1837, the same year he began his lifelong Journal. Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau became a key member of the Transcendentalist movement that included Margaret Fuller and Bronson Alcott. The Transcendentalists' faith in nature was tested by Thoreau between 1845 and 1847 when he lived for twenty-six months in a homemade hut at Walden Pond. While living at Walden, Thoreau worked on the two books published during his lifetime: Walden (1854) and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849). Several of his other works, including The Maine Woods, Cape Cod, and Excursions, were published posthumously. Thoreau died in Concord, at the age of forty-four, in 1862.
W.S. Merwin has published many highly regarded books of poems, for which he has received a number of distinguished awards—the Pulitzer Prize, Bollingen Award, Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets and the Governor's Award for Literature of the state of Hawaii among them. He has translated widely from many languages, and his versions of classics such as The Poem of the Cid and The Song of Roland are standards.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I bought this book after much searching for it in local bookshops.
kardo76
Walden is H. D. Thoreau's return to `wildness', but with a rucksack.
Luc REYNAERT
This book is as relevant today as it was during Thoreau's lifetime.
Christo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Christo on November 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
Compared to books such as "Voluntary Simplicity" by Duane Elgin and similar books, one realises that many of these ideas are nothing new when one reads Walden by Thoreau. In fact, what strikes me is that we as a Western society have not overcome many of the issues pointed out by Thoreau 150 years ago. Thoreau left Concord MA "disdainful of America's growing commercialism and industrialism", the slavish materialism of that society then. One wonders what he'll say if he would see the extend today - in the post Coca-Cola society. But then Thoreau was a man who clearly stepped to his own drum. Becuase of slavery, he refused to support the state on moral grounds. How would his views have been tolerated today?
I am not luddite, but my favourite quote from the book is this: "We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing to communicate". Does this say something about the Internet, newsmedia and our contemporary information overload, or what?
I liked the introduction and footnotes of Meyer. Just enough to provide context and explanation, but never intrusive. This book is as relevant today as it was during Thoreau's lifetime. Highly recommended.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Sravaniya D. Pecoraro on April 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
Anyone who prefers Emerson above Thoreau surely does so with a view to increasing his own popularity. Thoreau is too outspoken to be liked by everyone--indeed, to identify more with him is a kind of social suicide. But then, Thoreau was ever convinced that he was not here to please anybody, but rather to be authentically what he was.
To find a modern western man who so thoroughly embodies the wisdom of antiquity is as rare as "the tooth of a dragon, or the hair of a phoenix." Henry David Thoreau is such a man. More than a mere combination of past, present and future, he joins together the most mundane, prosaic and ordinary considerations of daily life with the loftiest and noble thoughts of mankind. Furthermore, he perceives the spiritual aspirations and practices of east and west as one coherent whole. He was well acquainted with the classics of both hemispheres--The Tao de Ching, The Bhagavad-gita, Vedic writings, The Iliad and more--and here, distilled for us common folk, is that wisdom as seen from the his viewpoint. Bertrand Russell has given what would seem the crown laurel to Thoreau calling him "a pure romantic"-in contrast to the weak romanticism of Victor Hugo, or the rather soft variety found in Emerson.
During his lifetime, 700 or so of the 1,000 copies he had printed of "Walden" wound up in his parents' attic, ostensibly making him a failure as a writer. Since then he has become a literary god, and without doubt one of the most influential writers of the past 200 years.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tim Hundsdorfer on June 1, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
H.D. Thoreau is the first and most important figure in U.S. Radicalism. This collection provides the essential background for the latent radicalism inherent in American politics, especially as it was vocalized in the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements of the 1960's.
Disobedience is the shorter of the texts, but probably more important. It is an attempt to justify moral anarchism and a call to act on individual judgements about justice.
Walden can be interpreted as an important treatise against consumerism and the dangers of specialization, as well as an appreciation of the natural environment. Those interested in anti-globalization/anti-free trade movements would do well to read Walden to gain an understanding of where anti-consumerism came from and an examination of its ethical implications. However, it also pays to remember that Walden is a failed experiment and, in the end, Thoreau returns to Cambridge.
Thoreau, as political philosophy, has certain problems. Moral anarchy and denial of the social contract is difficult to replace in civil society--Thoreau makes no more than the most vague references as to what could replace it, seeming to rely on the fact that his personal sense of justice is universal.
Nevertheless, Thoreau's conscience has resonance and is as relevant today as ever. His rejection of consumerism as the basis for society and its stratification also teaches important lessons.
Thoreau represents that first step in understanding the other part of American political thought--extremely different from that of the Constitution and Federalist Papers--but with profound connections to the work of Dr. Martin Luther King.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TheIrrationalMan on March 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Scorning the mass slavery of modern industrial society, Thoreau conducted his most famous experiment in life: to live in solitude in a shack he builds himself on the edge of Walden Pond, on the land of Emerson, with whom he lived as a handyman and pupil. Thoreau, clearly, was no less radical than his mentor, Emerson, though he differs at least in the fact that he was not merely content with preaching, but actually strove to put his ideals into practice. The book is a profound statement of Transcendentalist individualism and self-reliance and a hymn to nature, contentment and joy. He recounts, at one point, the episode in 1845, during which he was imprisoned for one night for defying the local government and not paying his poll-tax. He mentions, in passing, how he allowed a runaway black slave to have safe passage through the region. His retreat into solitude was partly impelled by his disgust with the war with Mexico, and partly because he could not accept that he could live under a governemnt that was also a slave's government. Thoreau, a neo-Cynic, a modern stoic, emphasises a return to the basic, uncomplicated life, free from the cares and fetters of what he calls "odd-fellow society" and celebrates, above all, simplicity, magnanimity and trust. Glorying in the animal vitality of his body (though he was singularly unable to appreciate women) his ruminations encompass the most prosaic details of life in the woods, such as the migrations of birds, fishing, his own bean-farm, along with powerful insights into self-improvement, learning, generosity and other topics, interspersed with allusions to his favourite literature, the "Iliad" of Homer and the texts of ancient Hindu philosophy and religion. A refreshing and inspiring encounter with a fascinating individual in the history of letters.
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