L'édition de cet ISBN n'est malheureusement plus disponible.Afficher les exemplaires de cette édition ISBN
Disdainful of America's booming commercialism and industrialism, Henry David Thoreau left Concord, Massachusetts, in 1845 to live in solitude in the woods near Walden Pond. Walden, the account of his stay, conveys at once a naturalist's wonder at the commonplace and a Transcendentalist's yearning for spiritual truth and self-reliance.
Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.
WALDEN AND CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE
HENRY DAVID THOREAU was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1817. Self-described as “a mystic, a transcendentalist, and a natural philosopher to boot,” Thoreau was known for his extreme individualism, his preference for simple, austere living, and his revolt against the demands of society and government. The several years he spent in a homemade hut, writing and observing nature, resulted in Walden (1854). He was the author of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), Civil Disobedience (1849), Excursions (1863), and The Maine Woods (1864). Thoreau died in Concord in 1862.
MICHAEL MEYER teaches American literature at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of Several More Lives to Live, Thoreau’s Political Reputation in America–awarded the Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize by the American Studies Association–and coauthor, with Walter Harding, of The New Thoreau Handbook. Mr. Meyer has published articles on Thoreau, in a variety of journals.
With an Introduction by
On July 4, 1845, while many Americans waved miniature flags amid the sounds of firecrackers and bells in honor of their country’s independence, Henry David Thoreau unceremoniously moved his meager belongings from his parents’ home in Concord, Massachusetts, to a cabin beside Walden Pond, where he would quietly declare and celebrate his own independence. For Thoreau, the true America was yet to be discovered, and its revolution was still only a promise rather than an achievement. As the patriotic citizens of Concord noisily showed their colors, this native son methodically began weaving the flag of his disposition out of the hopeful green stuff he explored in the woods less than two miles from the center of town. Unlike Walt Whitman, who populated his writings with the “divine average,” Thoreau “never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” Thoreau demanded a singular relationship with nature that would allow him to leave behind the average and the mundane so that he could discover the liberating divinity within himself and his world. He pledged allegiance not to the Republic but to the individualism for which he stood.
Although Thoreau went to the pond for solitude, he was not entirely alone in spirit. On the day he settled into his ten-by-fifteen-foot cabin, Margaret Fuller, whose Woman in the Nineteenth Century appeared in February of the same year, published an article titled “Fourth of July” in the New York Daily Tribune. Instead of offering readers the usual holiday panegyric, Fuller chastised Americans for their toleration of slavery and their mean pursuit of wealth. She grieved that they were not as free and independent as their forefathers envisioned. Hearing little cause for hope in the country’s popular cry, she searched elsewhere for a voice that could lead a wayward nation back to “the narrow path” of virtue. According to Fuller, it was in “private lives, more than in public measures” that “the salvation of the country” was to be found. She called for “individuals” who could be “shining examples” and whose “deeply rooted characters . . . cannot be moved by flattery, by fear, even by hope, for they work in faith.” Fuller asked if there were any “on the threshold of manhood who have not yet chosen the broad way into which the multitude rushes, led by the banner on which, strange to say, the royal Eagle is blazoned, together with the word Expediency?” The individuals among her readers were urged to reject that well-traveled road and to pursue “the narrow, thorny path where Integrity leads.”
The language of Fuller’s article is worth preserving because it serves as an unintentional advertisement for Walden, though the book was not to be published until 1854, nine years later. The problem that she identifies—America’s slavish materialism—and the remedy she proposes—individual action based on principle—were among the chief reasons Thoreau took the path to the pond. If the narrator of Walden stands for anything, it is as an “example of the practicability of virtue,” the deeply rooted, self-cultivated individual who has the power to awaken his neighbors from their torpid lives of expediency to lives of principle. Fuller’s impassioned anticipation of Walden was a coincidence but not an accident, for she shared with Thoreau some of the same values and concerns that characterized the Transcendentalists of the period.
Because the Transcendentalists were eclectic rather than systematic, any brief description of their views tends to be reductive. For nearly every principle that can be attributed to the movement, it is possible to find a Transcendentalist whose values and attitudes would require a qualification. As James Freeman Clarke observed about himself and his contemporaries, the Transcendentalists were “a club of the likeminded, I suppose because no two of us thought alike.” The unity within this diversity was a feeling that American literature, philosophy, and religion, as well as government, society, and individuals, were not fulfilling the potential that the Transcendentalists believed was possible. Although Thoreau refused to be a member of any collective movement, he did occasionally refer to himself as a Transcendentalist (partially because this self-description could be counted on to confuse and dismay people). He sympathized with the Transcendentalists’ desire to move beyond the surfaces of American life—its commerce, technology, industrialism, and material progress—to a realization that these public phenomena were insignificant when compared with an individual’s spiritual life. “In the long run,” Thoreau declares in “Economy,” the first chapter of Walden, “men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.”
The targets that the Transcendentalists aimed at were not always identical, but they consistently aimed high. This small group of New England idealists (among the more famous in addition to Fuller were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Amos Bronson Alcott, George Ripley, Elizabeth Peabody, Theodore Parker, Orestes Brownson, and Jones Very) had an impact on American culture and literature that is hardly reflected in the few activities that actually constituted the movement during the 1830s and 1840s. Indeed, their primary activities were forms of self-expression rather than the kinds of social, economic, or political actions that the bustling nineteenth century would have been likely to comprehend. They discussed, wrote, and lived their ideas instead of inventing machines, initiating commercial enterprises, or introducing legislation. The major activities associated with the Transcendentalists as a group can be quickly summarized: some attempted to reform what Emerson eventually dismissed as “corpse-cold Unitarianism”; some participated in discussions of the times and the eternities during meetings of the informal Transcendental Club from 1836–40; some published and wrote for the Dial (1840–44), their quarterly journal of literature, philosophy, and religion; and some founded two different utopian communities, Brook Farm (1841–47) and the much less successful Fruitlands (1843–44).
Not all the Transcendentalists were involved with these projects or even supported them. Thoreau never considered himself a Unitarian (though the church attempted to claim him as one) and so he did not bother himself with formally repudiating their rationalistic orthodoxy as Emerson did. Thoreau did, however, attend many of the discussions of the Transcendental Club when they were held at Emerson’s house in Concord. He clearly shared Emerson’s belief that each generation must discover the world through its own eyes rather than through the eyes of previous generations, but in rejecting the dead hand of the past, Thoreau was disinclined to join hands with his contemporaries, even when they shared the common goal of enjoying “an original relation to the Universe,” as Emerson put it in Nature (1836). Thoreau did lend a hand to the Dial, which developed out of the discussions of the Transcendental Club. When the journal began in 1840, only three years had passed since Thoreau’s graduation from Harvard, and he was eager for an opportunity to publish his writings where they might be appreciated rather than graded. Over the next four years he published under the editorships of Fuller and Emerson more than thirty essays and poems in the Dial; he also edited the April 1843 issue. Although the Dial’s circulation remained small throughout its run and the hostile reviews it generated gave Transcendentalists notoriety as dreamy, unintelligible obscurantists rather than fame, the journal nevertheless provided Thoreau a vehicle with which to begin his career as a writer. He did not, however, join or endorse the utopian collective that George Ripley began at Brook Farm for the purpose of uniting the thinker with the worker. Nor would Thoreau have anything to do with the high-minded eccentricities of Amos Bronson Alcott’s Fruitlands, where a vegetarian diet excluded carrots and potatoes, because their roots grew down into the earth instead of aspiring toward heaven. Thoreau acknowledged their lofty aims but he could not abide their methods. He placed a higher premium on his privacy and made clear that he would not relinquish it for what he regarded as little more than a Transcendental “boardinghouse.” Thoreau’s own family home was a boardinghouse run by his mother, and he had experienced enough there to know that noble thoughts were often crowded out of such arrangements. His two-year retreat to Walden Pond was his response to the communal efforts of the Transcendentalists.
Thoreau shared the disappointment and dismay the Transcendentalists expressed concerning the lack of integrity they saw in American life. What characterized and distinguished these thinkers from most Americans was not their sometimes peculiar diets but a hunger for a living religion infused with inspiration and a sense of the mystery of life rather than the nationalistic, expedient perspectives provided by State Street, the Custom House, or the respectable ministries of the church. The Transcendentalists, it is true, were part of a broader reform impulse during the period that sought changes in nearly every phase of American life: tracts were written, lectures delivered, journals published, and conventions held to dispense benevolent advice on such matters as education, prison reform, capital punishment, women’s rights, poverty, the handicapped, the ill, the insane, marriage, domestic economy, gambling, peace, and slavery. Almost nothing escaped the scrutiny of reformers; what could not be improved upon could be abolished. Even Walt Whitman published, in 1842, Franklin Evans, or the Inebriate, a temperance novel. But as much as Transcendentalism can be placed in this larger context of reform, the Transcendentalists sought, in addition to amelioration, liberation from the pervasive sterility and materialism they saw informing the bad faith all around them.
What most attracted Thoreau to Transcendentalism was not its social activism; he was drawn instead to the Transcendentalists’ attitudes concerning the desirability and necessity of cultivating one’s self. He had as little patience with reformers as he did with the problems that they attempted to reform. Reformers were unctuous and meddlesome; their “slimy benignity” he found uncomfortable, unclean, and unsettling. Thoreau demanded that they examine their own lives before prodding and poking around in someone else’s life, especially his: “If I knew for a certainty,” he wrote in Walden, “that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.” This helps to explain why he recoils from any suggestion that he is foisting his way of life on his readers; instead, he insists that each reader of Walden “be very careful to find out and pursue his own way.” He offers his life as an example of how one can live “simply and wisely”; he does not prescribe a rigid program. In Thoreau’s mind, individual discipline, intellectual growth, and spiritual development were the only true methods of reform, methods that required neither conventions, membership lists, nor contributions. True reform was interior, private, and wholly individual. Reforming one’s self meant discovering the divinity within one’s self.
Thoreau followed Emerson in locating God within one’s soul and in nature. Because absolute values and authority could be discovered within one’s self rather than in the pulpit, the tract, the statute book, or the marketplace, a person could be totally independent and free if this divinity was developed and given expression. The problem was how one could know whether or not divinity was in man and nature when it could not be proven by traditional, logical, rational discourse. The Transcendentalists solved this problem by using other than analytic means to affirm that one soul circulates through all of creation. Rejecting the Lockean sensationalism and Common Sense philosophy then prevalent, which argued that knowledge could only come through the senses, the Transcendentalists insisted that this empirical argument was not responsive to a higher, ultimate reality, the world of the spirit. An act of consciousness, not experience, allowed the Transcendentalist to perceive the spiritual reality latent in matter. The experience of the senses was only one mode of perception used to organize visible phenomena so that physical properties and laws were understood. More important than this was a higher perceptual faculty—the power of one’s imagination—which spontaneously intuited the invisible spiritual reality underlying all natural phenomena. Because the true self was inseparable from God, this semirevelatory perception transcended the material world of space, time, and matter to apprehend absolute permanent spiritual life. The highest “wisdom,” Thoreau believed, “does not inspect, but behold.”
In addition to Thoreau’s God-reliant inner voice, there was another major source of sound teaching that informed the conduct of his life. His nature studies of flora and fauna, along with his detailed notes of cycles and seasons, were efforts to be instructed not only in the facts of nature but also in its ultimate meanings. As a naturalist Thoreau paid close attention to the facts he recorded in his journals. Because he perceived them through the eyes of a Transcendentalist as well, he had faith that those seemingly disparate facts would one day fuse into universal spiritual truths. Nature’s facts constituted a language for Thoreau, a language with which he could build a spiritual world that he carefully reconstructed in Walden. Having built his cabin on Emerson’s land, he also built his book on much of the groundwork Emerson provided in Nature, “The American Scholar,” and “Self-Reliance.” There were other important sources from the classics, Oriental literature, travel literature, and studies of the American Indian—sources that account fo...Présentation de l'éditeur :
Disdainful of America’s booming commercialism and industrialism, Henry David Thoreau left Concord, Massachusetts, in 1845 to live in solitude in the woods near Walden Pond. Walden, the account of his stay, conveys at once a naturalist’s wonder at the commonplace and a Transcendentalist’s yearning for spiritual truth and self-reliance. But even as Thoreau disentangled himself from worldly matters, his musings were often disturbed by his social conscience. Civil Disobedience, also included in this volume, expresses his antislavery and antiwar sentiments, and has influenced non-violent resistance movements worldwide. Both give a rewarding insight into a free-minded, principled and idiosyncratic man.
Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.
Description du livre Penguin Classics, 1983. Paperback. Etat : new. N° de réf. du vendeur 9780140390445
Description du livre Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Etat : New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Disdainful of America's booming commercialism and industrialism, Henry David Thoreau left Concord, Massachusetts, in 1845 to live in solitude in the woods near Walden Pond. Walden, the account of his stay, conveys at once a naturalist's wonder at the commonplace and a Transcendentalist's yearning for spiritual truth and self-reliance. But even as Thoreau disentangled himself from worldly matters, his musings were often disturbed by his social conscience. Civil Disobedience, also included in this volume, expresses his antislavery and antiwar sentiments, and has influenced non-violent resistance movements worldwide. Both give a rewarding insight into a free-minded, principled and idiosyncratic man. N° de réf. du vendeur AAZ9780140390445
Description du livre Penguin Books 8/25/1983, 1983. Paperback or Softback. Etat : New. Walden and Civil Disobedience. Book. N° de réf. du vendeur BBS-9780140390445
Description du livre Penguin Classics. Etat : New. BRAND NEW, GIFT QUALITY! NOT OVERSTOCKS OR MARKED UP REMAINDERS! DIRECT FROM THE PUBLISHER!|VCF. N° de réf. du vendeur OTF-S-9780140390445
Description du livre Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Etat : New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Disdainful of America's booming commercialism and industrialism, Henry David Thoreau left Concord, Massachusetts, in 1845 to live in solitude in the woods near Walden Pond. Walden, the account of his stay, conveys at once a naturalist's wonder at the commonplace and a Transcendentalist's yearning for spiritual truth and self-reliance. But even as Thoreau disentangled himself from worldly matters, his musings were often disturbed by his social conscience. Civil Disobedience, also included in this volume, expresses his antislavery and antiwar sentiments, and has influenced non-violent resistance movements worldwide. Both give a rewarding insight into a free-minded, principled and idiosyncratic man. N° de réf. du vendeur BTA9780140390445
Description du livre Penguin Books Ltd 1984-01-26, Harmondsworth, 1984. paperback. Etat : New. N° de réf. du vendeur 9780140390445
Description du livre Paperback. Etat : New. 1st. Paperback. Walden was the fruit of Thoreau's two-year stay on the Walden Pond. He carefully shaped the book to follow the natural cycle of the seasons, yet it is more than an account of life in the w.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 432 pages. 0.304. N° de réf. du vendeur 9780140390445
Description du livre Penguin Classics. Etat : New. OVER 20 IN STOCK ON 09/22/2020. PAPERBACK, NEW FROM PUBLISHER. N° de réf. du vendeur G0140390448900
Description du livre Etat : New. Bookseller Inventory # ST9780140390445. N° de réf. du vendeur ST9780140390445
Description du livre Etat : new. Etat de la jaquette : new. N° de réf. du vendeur MBSN0140390448