Essay from walden

I read it with the strong feeling that here was something that concerned me directly.... It was the concrete, the personal element, the "here and now" of this work that won me over. Thoreau did not put forth a general proposition as such; he described and established his attitude in a specific historical-biographic situation. He addressed his reader within the very sphere of this situation common to both of them in such a way that the reader not only discovered why Thoreau acted as he did at that time but also that the reader—assuming him of course to be honest and dispassionate– would have to act in just such a way whenever the proper occasion arose, provided he was seriously engaged in fulfilling his existence as a human person. The question here is not just about one of the numerous individual cases in the struggle between a truth powerless to act and a power that has become the enemy of truth. It is really a question of the absolutely concrete demonstration of the point at which this struggle at any moment becomes man's duty as man ....

There is an old joke among Thoreauvians that most people know Thoreau as the man who spent half his life at Walden Pond and the other half in jail, but the reason that his brief time at Walden and his one night in jail have become such defining moments in his life can be summed up under one term: Writer. Thoreau was one of the most powerful and influential writers America has produced. His prose style was unequaled. And although only a small part of his work was published in his short lifetime, he was a prolific writer whose collected works  filled twenty volumes when collected in 1906. The publication of his journal of over two million words in 1906, the first time an American author had his journal published in full, showed the recognition afforded him by his publisher, Houghton Mifflin.

Essay from walden

essay from walden

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