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Walden Kindle Edition
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|Kindle, October 25, 2021||
From Library Journal
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
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.
I should not obtrude my affairs so much on the notice of my readers if very particular inquiries had not been made by my townsmen concerning my mode of life, which some would call impertinent, though they do not appear to me at all impertinent, but, considering the circumstances, very natural and pertinent. Some have asked what I got to eat; if I did not feel lonesome; if I was not afraid; and the like. Others have been curious to learn what portion of my income I devoted to charitable purposes; and some, who have large families, how many poor children I maintained. I will therefore ask those of my readers who feel no particular interest in me to pardon me if I undertake to answer some of these questions in this book. In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism, is the main difference. We commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking. I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience. Moreover, I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men's lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land; for if he has lived sincerely, it must have been in a distant land to me. Perhaps these pages are more particularly addressed to poor students. As for the rest of my readers, they will accept such portions as apply to them. I trust that none will stretch the seams in putting on the coat, for it may do good service to him whom it fits.
I would fain say something, not so much concerning the Chinese and Sandwich Islanders as you who read these pages, who are said to live in New England; something about your condition, especially your outward condition or circumstances in this world, in this town, what it is, whether it is necessary that it be as bad as it is, whether it cannot be improved as well as not. I have travelled a good deal in Concord; and everywhere, in shops, and offices, and fields, the inhabitants have appeared to me to be doing penance in a thousand remarkable ways. What I have heard of Bramins sitting exposed to four fires and looking in the face of the sun; or hanging suspended, with their heads downward, over flames; or looking at the heavens over their shoulders "until it becomes impossible for them to resume their natural position, while from the twist of the neck nothing but liquids can pass into the stomach"; or dwelling, chained for life, at the foot of a tree; or measuring with their bodies, like caterpillars, the breadth of vast empires; or standing on one leg on the tops of pillarseven these forms of conscious penance are hardly more incredible and astonishing than the scenes which I daily witness. The twelve labors of Hercules were trifling in comparison with those which my neighbors have undertaken; for they were only twelve, and had an end; but I could never see that these men slew or captured any monster or finished any labor. They have no friend Iolaus to burn with a hot iron the root of the hydra's head, but as soon as one head is crushed, two spring up.
I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle, and farming tools; for these are more easily acquired than got rid of. Better if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf, that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labor in. Who made them serfs of the soil? Why should they eat their sixty acres, when man is condemned to eat only his peck of dirt? Why should they begin digging their graves as soon as they are born? They have got to live a man's life, pushing all these things before them, and get on as well as they can. How many a poor immortal soul have I met well-nigh crushed and smothered under its load, creeping down the road of life, pushing before it a barn seventy-five feet by forty, its Augean stables never cleansed, and one hundred acres of land, tillage, mowing, pasture, and woodlot! The portionless, who struggle with no such unnecessary inherited encumbrances, find it labor enough to subdue and cultivate a few cubic feet of flesh.
But men labor under a mistake. The better part of the man is soon plowed into the soil for compost. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed, as it says in an old book, laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool's life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B079C24RHN
- Publisher : KTHTK (October 25, 2021)
- Publication date : October 25, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 825 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 171 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #26,459 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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The first theme gets a bit played out over the length of the book, and Thoreau himself eventually tires of nature and moves on from Walden.
The second theme is an elitist position, and it may very well be that Henry David Thoreau didn't have to work very hard to live off his bit of land - but he seems to have no concept of how those who made his silverware, cookware, etc. are fed.
In regards to his attitude towards government, democracy and disobedience of authority - I would just say that I find myself mostly in agreement with Mr. Thoreau.
It was one of the most challenging reads of my life, but one book I am so glad to have read. Thoreau had a lot of wisdom for someone of his time. What threw me off at times were his references to things like ancient history when he discusses his narrative of whatever he happens to be talking about at that time, which seems kind of random at times. It can be fairly easy to get lost at times, but keep in mind, this was written in the mid 1800's. Sometimes, it felt like reading this book was a lengthy homework assignment. Even still, it was a pleasure to have read this masterpiece. I suggest giving this a read if you have the patience for a deep and enlightening read.
And so I bought this audiobook specifically because of the voice quality of the reader on the audio sample. Yet when the item arrived and I played it, the reader was indeed Adam Morgan, but his voice is completely different than the audio sample. And I don't like it.
Adam Morgan's voice is much more " Lah-Tee-Dah" than is appropriate for the voice of what should be a New Englander outdoorsman's voice, which should sound somewhat rugged yet thoughtful -- Adam Morgan's reading style is nothing like this. Morgan's reading style is more for reading something like Oscar Wilde -- more polo pohnies, more lah-tee-dah.
As the story goes, Walden is tale about the time Thoreau spent in his cabin along the shores of Walden pond during his latter 20s. During his two years, he reflects upon his surrounds with his transcendental insights into humanity. Sometimes cynical, sometimes complacent, Thoreau nonetheless weaves together his discoveries about the nature of the earth and that of humanity as whole. From his point of view on the economies of his little cabin and that of 19th-century man to the change of the seasons and the visitors who darken his humble doorway.
If you enjoy brilliant writing despite the aforementioned challenges, this is a must-read for all lovers of classic literature!
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 5, 2018
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 27, 2019
This book was "printed in the UK by Amazon" and it's of VERY poor quality. Its like one of those self-printed vanity books or an MS word document printed out.
Terrible basic layout and font SO SMALL you can barely read it.
Total waste of time, very poor quality indeed. Need to buy a replacement from a proper publisher now.
Thanks for nowt Amazon.
If you are fascinated by the anarchist ideal of living separate from 'social order' (i.e. government by others), and the naturists ambition of relying on what the environment provides, then I highly recommend this book. Not only is the 'idea' a grand one, but the way Thoreau expresses himself is so eloquent as to make this book a timeless classic.
Walden is a reflection on multiple themes - the need to simplify one's life, to reconnect with nature, to reconsider the ever-increasing materialism and shallow nature of our interactions, and to find a purpose and identity in a world that forces you to conform. It suggests that if you must belong somewhere, it should be with nature first and civilization second. The book is serialized into 18 chapters that cover a year of his life.
It's not an easy read. Since it's a collection of diary entries, some topics struck my fancy and some not as much. There were some descriptions of the pond, the animals, and the trees that made me want to go to Walden pond myself but there were also long-winded write-ups that I ended up glazing over. What impressed me though was how well read Thoreau was, with his text quoting, in ample amounts, Hindu scriptures, Chinese philosophy, Greek mythology, Christianity and more; references I wouldn't have caught on to had it not been for the annotations in the edition I was reading. I agreed with Thoreau's emphasis on individuality and pacing one's life to one's rhythm. There were some nice philosophical nuggets to think over and social critiques to consider. I enjoyed this book.