He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.
Thoreau's words expressed the concerns of many of his contemporaries as industrialization and war permanently altered the world around them, just as they struck a chord in a generation of young people in the 1960s and 1970s who opposed the modern military-industrial complex and sought peace and simplicity in their lives. In the years following Thoreau's death in 1862, his sister and his friends undertook the responsibility of editing his work. The site he picked was on land belonging to his close friend Ralph Waldo Emerson; he and Emerson had already discussed Thoreau's plan to live on the land which Emerson had recently purchased.
Posthumous editions of his previously unpublished or partially published works were produced by Ticknor & Fields and Houghton Mifflin, and articles about Thoreau and reviews of his writings appeared in newspapers and magazines. By July 4 of that same year, the house was substantially complete and Thoreau moved to the pond. I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
In the 1890s a group of admirers who had not known Thoreau personally but who had been affected by his writings began actively to promote him.
One of the first substantial biographies of Thoreau, The Life of Henry David Thoreau, was published by an Englishman, Henry Salt, in 1890.
The Princeton Edition of Walden was published in 1971.
I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.Beginning in the 1930s, interest in Thoreau began to rise markedly.Henry Seidel Canby's 1939 biography, Thoreau, reached the best-seller lists.In 1966, a project to edit and publish all of Thoreau's writings was undertaken by a group of scholars under the sponsorship of the National Endowment for the Humanities .Under the editorship of Walter Harding (1966-1972), William L.This work, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, was Thoreau's first published book. By the time he left the pond on September 6, 1847, he had combined his lectures on life at Walden with more notes from his journal to produce the first draft of a book which he hoped to publish shortly after A Week.At Walden, Thoreau worked diligently on A Week, but he also explored Walden Woods and recorded his observations on nature in his Journal. A Week was published in 1849, with a note at the back announcing the imminent publication of Walden; or, Life in the Woods.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. (Walden, 3) With these words, Henry David Thoreau began the tale of his experiment of simple living at Walden Pond.Over the course of the next three hundred-odd pages, Thoreau outlined his philosophy of life, politics, and nature, laying the foundation for a secure place in the canon of great American writers.Thoreau's life and work have continued to provoke and inspire, and there are almost as many different opinions as there are readers. (Walden, 90) He also went to the pond to work on a book that was to be a memorial tribute to his older brother John, who had died three years earlier of lockjaw.Which view of Thoreau is most accurate: The dour hermit of Walden Woods? The narrative frame of the story is provided by a boat trip the brothers had taken in 1839, but there are many philosophical digressions. He began collecting material to write lectures for his curious townsmen, and he delivered two at the Concord Lyceum, on February 10 and 17, 1847.