Walden

Walden

by Henry David Thoreau

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Overview

The ultimate gift edition of Walden for bibliophiles, aficionados, and scholars.

Thoreau’s literary classic, an elegantly written record of his experiment in simple living, has engaged readers and thinkers for a century and a half. This edition of Walden is the first to set forth an authoritative text with generous annotations. Thoreau scholar Jeffrey S. Cramer has meticulously corrected errors and omissions from previous editions of Walden and here provides illuminating notes on the biographical, historical, and geographical contexts of Thoreau’s life.

Cramer’s newly edited text is based on the original 1854 edition of Walden, with emendations taken from Thoreau’s draft manuscripts, his own markings on the page proofs, and notes in his personal copy of the book. In the editor’s notes to the volume, Cramer quotes from sources Thoreau actually read, showing how he used, interpreted, and altered these sources. Cramer also glosses Walden with references to Thoreau’s essays, journals, and correspondence. With the wealth of material in this edition, readers will find an unprecedented opportunity to immerse themselves in the unique and fascinating world of Thoreau. Anyone who has read and loved Walden will want to own and treasure this gift edition. Those wishing to read Walden for the first time will not find a better guide than Jeffrey S. Cramer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781497659728
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 08/26/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 262
Sales rank: 60,894
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Jeffrey S. Cramer is curator of collections, The Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods. He is the editor of Thoreau on Freedom: Attending to Man: Selected Writings of Henry David Thoreau.

Date of Birth:

July 12, 1817

Date of Death:

May 6, 1862

Place of Birth:

Concord, Massachusetts

Place of Death:

Concord, Massachusetts

Education:

Concord Academy, 1828-33); Harvard University, 1837

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Economy

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 heardof 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 pillars–even 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.

Table of Contents

Introductionvii
Economy1
Where I Lived, and What I Lived For76
Reading94
Sounds105
Solitude122
Visitors132
The Bean-Field146
The Village158
The Ponds164
Baker Farm189
Higher Laws197
Brute Neighbors210
House-Warming224
Former Inhabitants; and Winter Visitors241
Winter Animals255
The Pond in Winter265
Spring280
Conclusion299

What People are Saying About This

Alan D. Hodder

"Thoreau's masterpiece—here freshly refurbished by Jeffrey S. Cramer—speaks to our material and spiritual condition as powerfully as on the day it first appeared.  Now, more than ever, Walden is our indispensable American book."--(;Alan D. Hodder, professor of comparative religion, Hampshire College     )

Joel Porte

"Jeffrey Cramer's Walden is the most accurate and readable text of Thoreau's masterpiece. Cramer's version now replaces all other available editions of Walden as the most attractive and reliable way to approach this great American book."-- (Joel Porte, author of Consciousness and Culture: Emerson and Thoreau Reviewed
)

From the Publisher

"The pacing and delivery of the message are both clear and easy to absorb, making this classic beautifully suited to the audiobook format, especially with Foster's consistent voice taking control." —-AudioFile

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Walden (Illustrated + FREE audiobook link + Active TOC) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 123 reviews.
KyleofNWPHS More than 1 year ago
I recently had the pleasure of reading this fine book authored by Henry David Thoreau. This book has garnered a fair bit of controversy among those who have read it. Its a love it or hate it sort of book, and one must have an open mind truly appreciate the book. Inclosed in Walden, is the author's deep personal thoughts and beliefs, with his own unique brand of philosophy. Thoreau has a one of a kind writing style I have never seen outside of his own work. For his time, he probably would have been described as edgy, and without bounds. Enough of my own subjective opinion, lets take an analytical look at this interesting piece of American literature. In the first chapter in this book, our author in detail, describes his intentions to build a cabin and live off the land of Walden Pond. This was not in any way a new concept, as much of America lived in this rural way, but what sets Thoreau apart is he documented and wrote about his experience. Henry Thoreau believed he was making an attempt at achieving a purer form of lifestyle. Also included in this first chapter is the exact cost the author payed to appropriate his desired lifestyle in the form of the price of the materials paid to construct his dwelling, and precise accounts of price paid for the modest amount of food Thoreau purchased on his occasional visits into town. Often throughout the book, Henry Thoreau will enclose his own thoughts on certain topics. In on section, he reminisces on a time he spent in jail for a refusal to pay a state tax. This is just the sort of rebellion Thoreau would approve of. He held the view that the "savage" (as indians were apparently called during that time), lived a purer and less corrupt form of lifestyle. This opinion was formed by the reflection of the average man's life at the time. A man would work to afford a home, work to afford and buy all of these things that the author though to be unnecessary or too luxurious than needed. A "savage" simply made what he needed, he would never become a "slave" to any type of property owner or tax man. Henry David Thoreau had a unique and one of a kind form of philosophy. One finds it difficult to approximately and descisivly label his beliefs. Our author believed that each person should live by their own means, and their own way. Rejection of society norms was not necessarily a give-in to his school of thought, so long as those norms suited that individual. It is quite easy to dismiss Henry Thoreau as an antisocial misfit, but there is evidence in the book that he made frequent trips into town, and mentioned elsewhere he would have visitors at his home, and would seek to visit others. So this kind of belief form could really be best described as "to each his own", and to do only what you believe in and want to do. Lastly, self-sufficiency was stressed greatly, and is a great proponent to this way of thinking, as one who acts alone needs to be able to provide for themselves. Overall this was a very interesting book to read, and brings many things into questioning. It is a thinking person's book, and I enjoyed it greatly. Few authors have such a notoriety to just one book, and next to Civil Disobedience, it is his most famous work. All outdoor enthusiasts, fans of old literature, anarchists, and people with an offbeat point of view, will likely greatly appreciate and enjoy this great book by a man remembered mainly only for his be
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Walden" is one of the greatest and most important books in American literature, but this version is almost illegible on the Nook. Spend a couple more bucks and get another version.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On Easter of 2000 I visited Concord, Massachusetts, and purchased this volume in a gift shop just across Rt. 62 from the site of Henry¿s cabin. It had been raining the entire trip, but armed with my coat of many pockets, my backpack, and my umbrella, I entered and ¿sauntered¿ about the gift shop, glad to get out of the cold dampness if only for a moment. I picked up a couple of the customary t-shirts one needs as souvenirs when traveling and then found myself in the book section, drawn to the items which enthrall me wherever I go. One book stood out¿not because I needed it, for I had a copy at home that was given to me by a friend for my birthday one year, but because of the photo on the cover. Whoever had designed the cover had actually BEEN to Walden, and the proof was the wet leaf among the terra firma known as the Pond. With an accompanying introduction by Joyce Carol Oates, I couldn¿t refuse. The cover still touches me, but I have taken to reading books and giving them away afterward, a habit that I am almost sure that Henry would love. I instead remember Walden in other ways, as rain falling on cedars. Walden to me is always Easter, always Earth Day, always truth, and most of all, always a reminder that my life is not mean or poor but rich and ready for picking. The chapters relying on Spring, Economy, Reading, and most of all the swelling Conclusion, like a gentle coda after the soaring symphony, remind me of what still waits, regardless of how old I am, and how old I will get.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walden was written as a backlash against consumerism and conformity. Thoreau built his own house with affordable and left over materials and sustained himself for a very small amount of money. The philosophy that he offers is one that many of us could benefit in listening to. Do we really need the most expensive cell phone on the market, or will the free model do? Do we really need a designer bag? Does it make us any happier to buy a house that is so elaborate it will add ten more years before we can retire? Walden questions what is truly important in life and what things are unnecessary burdens that we allow society to place on us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Timeless words of wisdom.
saggie More than 1 year ago
I bought thid book and it took forever to download so i didnt get a chance to read it--too bad, maybe I will try again another time
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book manages to pass on more wisdom and inspiration then any other work I can think of. It will convict you into living life, it will cause you to see the world as a place of wonder and oppotunity. Only to be read with an open mind.
nazgul.sp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The whole book reads like a journal of Thoreau's life in the woods. At some points it becomes very detailed and specific on the topic which he's talking about (fish, topography, plants, etc...) but it is worth reading through just to get to some of the best of his insights.
briandarvell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Walden turned out to be everything I expected. It was both an advocat for nature and environmentalism before such ever really existed in our minds. It was also a plead for simpleness and thought on behalf of the 19th-century people. He could see that people were changing and things were far too removed from what the original human condition used to be.This book is very applicable today, and I might even venture to say moreso than even at the time it was written. In the book Thoreau complains about how trains are making life too fast. What would he think of people who cannot even go to the grocery store without wearing a Bluetooth? What would he even think of a giant grocery store?Thoreau mentioned many of his colleagues whom came to his cottage or who he met during his walks. Although many of them weren't rich or worldly he still admired many for their straightforward approach to life. He was very critical of the modern cosmopolitan.The author gives a very plain look to doing things well. Almost too plain in my eyes since in the book nowhere does he mention what I believe is a very important aspect to life: responsibility to others. Be that as it may, his advice is still sound and pleasing to hear.My favorite portions of the book were related to his thoughts about lifestyle and reading. The concluding chapter is excellent as a summary of his beliefs in case one doesn't want to read through some of the tedious details in his later chapters (ie: size of ponds and how thick ice freezes in certain areas). I would happy recommend this book but it not so much an easy read anymore since the style is quite old-fashioned and I believe one could get almost as much out of reading half the book as the whole thing. If one is interested in reading a book that stands the test of time in the topics of simple and rewarding living this would be a great choice.
vandev11 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Henry David Thoreau's story follows his simple life at Walden Pond and his musings on life and society.At a first glance, "Walden" may seem to be a problematic work to discuss in a high school classroom. It is definitely a very dense work, and more suited for avid readers. However, the discussion that can occur as a class after reading this work is extremely important. There are ample opportunities to examine writing style as well as space for an in-depth discussion of the role of society and the individual.
marybethmcc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An important book for me - great read in the spring.
shellyiam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this book! When I'm stressed out I just sit down and read a few pages and it all goes away.
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I don't know if was just my copy or everyones but the second chapter was missing! That chapter was needed for a book report i had to do, so j had to buy a second copy that had said chapter! So i would not buy this book if i was you!
manirul01 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy it
SophiaGracer80 More than 1 year ago
When I read Walden, it felt like Thoreau was filled with a deep sense of leisure that was wrought with an emotional and compassionate link to nature. The book was sprinkled with his usual irony, and like nature, Thoreau's beautiful melodic rhythym of writing.
VivPhD More than 1 year ago
"Walden" is the most important book ever written and published in the United States. Advocating simplicity of life, Thoreau has written America's most anti-American and anti-capitalist book. He was the last man to think hard about what life is actually for. He said he "wanted to drive life into a corner, to see whether it be mean or sublime." He said he "liked to have a broad margin to his life" which meant that he worked only a few hours a day for absolute necessities, so he could spend the rest of his time doing the things that interested him. In our busy, busy, rush, rush, smogbound world, Henry Thoreau was a breath of fresh air, a truly independent soul, who allowed no one else to do his thinking for him. He was the last real American, and he made an indelible impression on my life. I have re-read Walden every single year of my life, and am always the better for it.
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Did you know he was enviermentallsist