Henry Davis Thoreau 1817--
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Henry Davis Thoreau 1817---1862
Why is Thoreau different from others? • If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. •
--- Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau, The Great • 1. Dismissed as an idler, and a drifter and a minor writer and a wasted Harvard graduate, and almost forgotten in his day, and yet in our day, he is one of few writers who deserve the appellation “ great”. • 2. He put into practice of principles of plain living and high thinking. • 3. His journal of nearly 7000 pages transcribed his daily thoughts, observations, readings and encounters with nature and men.
Walden lake, where Thoreau found the real meaning of life.
A reproduction of the cabin where Thoreau lived for two years and two months
A modern reader of Thoreau in the historic cabin
The nameless and timeless Henry
His life • • • • • • • • • • •
1. Born in Concord, Massachusetts, July 12, 1817 2. In Harvard College in 1833, and graduated in 1837 as one of the honor students 3. Opened a school, where he taught with his brother John 4. 1839, made a trip on Concord and Merrimack rivers with John 5. Helped Emerson edit The Dial and tutored Emerson’s children 6. In March 1845 ( when 28)began to work on a cabin at Walden Pond, and on July 4, moved into the Walden cabin 7. 1846, arrested for nonpayment of poll tax 8. Published Walden on August 9, 1856 9. Met Walt Whitman in Brooklyn 1856 10. In 1860, contracted the cold that led to his fatal illness, and died in Concord on May 6, 1862 11.In 1906, 20 volumes of Thoreau’s writings were published, including 14 volumes of his journal
Beauty originates from simplicity.
His major works • 1.Walden , known for its modern style, simplicity of diction and figures of speech, has 200 different editions and been translated into every major modern language. • 2. Walden was revised 8 times, and is read as the 19th century Adventures of Robinson Crusoe • 3. Civil Disobedience is the result of his jailed experience in 1846, embodying the pioneering spirit of the American frontiersman and a development of the philosophy in the Declaration of Independence, having a great impact on Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King.
Thoreau and Emerson • A frog was made to live in a swamp, but a man was not made to live in a swamp. • • I had tenderly cherished the flower of our friendship till one day my friend treated it as a weed. • • Emerson refused to recognize Thoreau as a writer, but a hermit.
An American simplicity
The American literary tradition • 1. Natty Bumpo---Civilized city and savaged woods • 2. Ahba---Civilized ship and savaged sea • 3. Hester---Civilized village and savaged forest • 4. Huckleberry Finn---Civilized village and savaged river • Thoreau---Civilized Concord and the wild Walden lake
The American Cultural Tradition Puritans
The main character
The New World 1. Freedom 2. Human rights 3. Democracy 4. Wealth The unknown world The frontiers
The American Dream The West