and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience


(6 Reviews)
Walden by Henry David Thoreau









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and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience


(6 Reviews)
When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months. At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again.

Book Excerpt

, if not before. It is said that Deucalion and Pyrrha created men by throwing stones over their heads behind them:--

Inde genus durum sumus, experiensque laborum,

Et documenta damus qua simus origine nati.

Or, as Raleigh rhymes it in his sonorous way,--

"From thence our kind hard-hearted is, enduring pain and care, Approving that our bodies of a stony nature are."

So much for a blind obedience to a blundering oracle, throwing the stones over their heads behind them, and not seeing where they fell.

Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them. Their fingers, from excessive toil, are too clumsy and tremble too much for that. Actually, the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day; he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men; his labor would be depreciated in the ma


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I could write about how much I have enjoyed Walden over the last forty plus years or how valuable it has been to me or how much I envy Thoreau his discipline, principle, humor and sapience however nothing I can write in a brief review can be as important as quoting the work itself.
I hope this great book remains required reading in university and high school as it was four decades ago.
“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”
“Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
“Things do not change; we change.”
“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity”
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
“I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.”
“Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.”
“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.”
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.”
“It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.”
“Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”
“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 he hears, however measured or far away.”
― Henry David Thoreau
I have loved Walden for years. Thoreau's humor is exceptional. This is really about how he felt while living in a little cabin in Walden woods, so it does not have a plot. If read as a diary, it will please many, I am sure.
I have already read it translated in french. I admired the straight language, the simply and strong expression. I enjoy now to reading it in its own language.
The social critic is pertinent on its basis, we may don't agree with the uncompromising fight for freedom and autonomy of the individual against the commun law.
Trees, frozen lakes, vegetables, and much admonition (yer houses are too sturdy, your reading too unlearnéd, and yer eyes too shut). But the stones which Henry has to grind are more interesting than most, and he might even be right.

Civil Disobedience is another matter: it only works if the fellow you're disobeying is as civil as you.