Or Life in the Woods
Like Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Walden is one of those seriously important books I feel I must have read and, if I haven't, I should, because seriously important people - Tolstoy, Marx, Gandhi - said that it changed their lives -- Sue Arnold * Guardian * A lovely read...Thoreau was ahead of his time, right down to his hipster beard -- Lauren Laverne * The Pool * Walden can be taken as an antidote to apathy and anxiety. With its high spirits and keen appeals to the senses, it fortifies -- John Updike * Guardian * Walden is really the original alternative manifesto -- Martin Kettle * Guardian * It is as philosophy, as one of the great self-help books, as a spiritual message, that is Walden at its most powerful * Washington Post *
Henry David Thoreau was born in 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts, the town where he would live for most of his life. Along with Ralph Waldo Emerson, he is the most famous of the American Transcendentalists, a group of philosophical thinkers who frequently explored the relationship between human beings and the natural world. He was educated at Harvard, and over the course of his life took on a number of different occupations, including lead-pencil maker, schoolteacher and surveyor. Thoreau was outspokenly critical of the American government, fervently opposed to slavery, and an advocate of passive resistance. Whilst Walden (1854) is his best-known work, his 1849 essay Civil Disobedience has inspired non-violent political activists the world over, including Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr, and his nature writings are considered ground-breaking works in ecology. He died in his hometown of Concord in 1862.