Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
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Posted in: Panel of Experts
[WALDEN; OR, LIFE IN THE WOODS]
Although the first edition gives the title Walden; or, Life in the Woods, on March 4, 1862, two months before he died, T wrote to his publishers, Ticknor & Fields, asking them to omit the subtitle in a new edition. They complied with this request, although it has rarely been followed since. Paul (75) suggests that T may have dropped the subtitle because he feared his audience was taking it too literally and thus missing the more important philosophy permeating the book. T could have derived the subtitle from his friend Charles Lane’s essay “Life in the Woods” in the Dial (IV, 1844, 415) or from John S. Williams, “Our Cabin; or, Life in the Woods” in the October 1843 American Pioneer (DeMott), but not from the then popular The Adirondack; or Life in the Woods, by J.T. Headley (New York, 1849), which did not appear until after T had used the subtitle in an advertisement for W in the back pages of the first edition of A Week. For a comprehensive study of the types of books on which T base the structure of W, see Linck Johnson. For a discussion of the organic structure of W, see Lane (1960). Kurtz is one o the most straightforward analyses of W’s style.
Posted in: General Discussion
Is there any possibility of Thoreau borrowing from the Christian tradition and positing “the woods” as a corollary of “wilderness”, where the demons (in us) are often portrayed and living? To reach one’s “higher self”, one must wake up inwardly to those elements that lead the soul (psychological and emotional state) astray.
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The drawing of T’s cabin was made by his sister Sophia, an amateur artist. T himself complained of it, “Thoreau would suggest a little alteration, chiefly in the door, in the wide projection of the roof at the front; and that the bank more immediately about the house be brought out more distinctly” (Sanborn, 1917, 338). Sanborn adds, “He must have noticed that her trees were first and pines, with a few deciduous tress that did not then grow there.” Ellery Channing thought it a “feeble caricature.” Other contemporary drawings of the cabin may be found in Meltzer and Harding (144-5).
[to wake my neighbors up]
The epigraph is quoted from the second chapter of W. It is omitted from many modern editions, and unfortunately so, for it sets the mood for the whole book. Broderick (1954) points out how this awakening and morning theme is a basic image carried throughout W. A possible source for T’s idea is Orestes Brownson’s statement in his Boston Quarterly Review in 1839 that he “aimed to startle, and made it a point to be as paradoxical and extravagant as he could.”
December 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm
See in context
January 3, 2014 at 5:25 pm
January 3, 2014 at 5:22 pm
January 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm
October 16, 2017 at 6:53 pm
I agree. Thoreau is a well-know figure, so people will have various opinions and perceptions of him, regardless of what his true character is.
October 15, 2017 at 7:19 pm
Posted in: Willamette University
Yes, he finally is able to one with nature and takes in all that is around him.
October 15, 2017 at 7:17 pm
I agree with that completely, I think that people should definitely take time and look whats around them instead of focusing on what they need all the time.
October 15, 2017 at 2:06 pm
Does he own land and rent it out? Or does he just let people use land if they come to him? This chapter was difficult for me to understand.
October 15, 2017 at 1:14 pm
It was interesting to read about how he goes into the village to get some gossip. It is almost like he wants to stay up to date about the things that go on around. But why did he go to live in the forest to find himself but also go into the village and get caught up to date with things that are going on?
October 14, 2017 at 10:59 pm
Does having those three chairs start a society? Is that how one starts to form?
October 14, 2017 at 10:57 pm
At this part, I was able to understand how it was okay to be alone and how it is nice to get away from a city or town.
October 14, 2017 at 5:50 pm
Posted in: Into the Woods
I view this quote as saying one should simply do what he wants to do in life and not follow someone else’s path.
October 14, 2017 at 4:38 pm
Thoreau doesn’t seem like the type of person who would be fazed by going to jail, given his intellectual and thoughtful nature. So while his experiences in jail would be interesting for the reader, I’m not surprised he didn’t include them.
October 14, 2017 at 4:18 pm
“I am naturally no hermit” could be referring to the fact that humans are social beings and, by nature, don’t like to be alone for long periods of time.
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