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Selections from the Journals

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  64 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Noted Thoreau scholar offers rich selection of favorite excerpts from voluminous Journals. Masterly meditations on man, society, nature and many other subjects — expressed with verve and vigor in some of the most poetic prose in American literature. Perfect introduction to the great naturalist and his thought. Introduction.
Paperback, 64 pages
Published November 2nd 2011 by Dover Publications (first published 1958)
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Thoreau died a martyr to science, from a cold he caught while counting the age, the rings of trees I seem to recall. One essential essay on him is by my Shakespeare teacher, Theodore Baird, which some perceptive editor found and included in the Norton Walden several decades ago. Baird had read most everything (tens of thousands of books) in the Amherst College Library, named in 1963 by JFK, the (Robert) Frost Library. I played trombone in the College band when bothe JFK and my teacher Archibald ...more
While I am absolutely wild about Thoreau, I had to leave this at four stars because I didn't feel that they pulled the "best" selections. For a brief breath of Thoreau, though, it was totally satisfying. Infact, it left me wanting more, so I think it's about time to pull out Walden again.

There is something about reading Thoreau that is so satisfying. True, some of his extenisve nature descriptions about plants are a little boring, but for the most part, I love it. It's gentle and soothing to my
Thought this would be an appropriate book for my backpacking trip last week. Turns out there's really no time for reading while backpacking. Read it last night instead. Thoreau's a weird guy but he's also a meticulously calibrated observation machine. It's all really quite impressive. And there's a certain magic to his writing.
the (severely abridged) selections don't do the journals justice. snag a copy of the originals instead. walden fans can discover snippets among his entries, while general thoreau lovers can trace his evolution from grand and heavy-handed metaphors (the birds are the sphere-music of the gods!) to sparsely scientific observations that ironically reveal his integration into nature (my reading, at least).
I like Thoreau and his child-like curiosity and wonder at Nature combined with his insightful philosophical musings and the occasional anti-materialistic rant. However, I wasn't really impressed with what the editor had to say in his forward and chapter headings so I must assume I wouldn't agree with his choice of what was important enough to include either.
Thoreau's alternative view of the world is a must-read for contemporary readers in a post industrial world. Dover provides tasteful mix of insightful and sometimes humorous journal entries which gives readers a nostalgia for the minimalism of the past and an appreciation for the little things.
Somewhat droning on in parts... I lost interest in some descriptions, however there are several must-read passages about the importance of nature and the revelations that can be found there, about the necessities of writing, etc.
may 11, 1839

"the farmer keeps pace with his crops and the revolutions of the seasons, but the merchant with the fluctuations of trade. observe how differently they walk in the streets."
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Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau)was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, philosopher, and abolitionist who is best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.

Thoreau's books,
More about Henry David Thoreau...
Walden Walden & Civil Disobedience Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (Collected Essays) Thoughts from Walden Pond Walking

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