Walden
by Henry David Thoreau

Published by Konemann

ISBN No. 89508-209-0

Reviewed by Bridget Hanna

 

Walden Pond is the name of the pond in New Hampshire (USA) where Henry Thoreau spent two years of his life. His aim was to rethink his life and reflect on society. It was a grand aim, but having read his book I can honestly say he does both justice. Walden is an extremely personal
account of his day to day life around the pond and, more importantly, the thoughts behind them. An extremely provocative account of western thought follows almost by accident, although I am sure nothing Thoreau ever did happened by accident!

"Solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows"

(I forgive his sexism because of the time in which he lived).

It was a good job, because during his two years he spent much of his time completely alone, immured from almost all human contact.

Thoreau was an individualist, most famous for his essay on Civil Disobedience, which is said to have influenced Gandhi in his practices.

The Fly sheet reads:-

"But men labour under a mistake. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed, as it says in an old book, laying up treasures with moth and rust, will corrupt, and thieves break through and steal."

Henry David Thoreau's classic re-examination of getting and spending and the individuals' place in or out of society.

When I look back at my reading I have underlined such nuggets as:-

"We are all sculptures and painters, and our material is our flesh and blood"

After reading the book I wrote this:-

This summer
I sat, blanket wrapped
Hiding my face in the warmth of duty.
Oh, I have risen at the right time and murmured right words
but underneath I sleep
dreaming of the stars

Walking to school the winter wind cools
Its hard to be a poet
amongst the cry's for breakfast
I want to live like Thoreau
deliberation could be my friend
Solitude my lover
But instead I must cook dinner
and live in the thoughts of other peoples minds

This book chronicles his time, and his realisations. It is, in essence a book about the mind, a book about thinking. I commend it to anyone interested in thinking.


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