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Autumnal Tints

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  92 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Two institutions of New England, our fall colors and Henry David Thoreau, are brought together in this posthumously published rumination on Nature. Autumnal Tints was originally published in the October 1862 Atlantic Monthly. "October is the month for painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint ...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by Applewood Books (first published January 1st 1906)
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Oct 31, 2009 Tom rated it it was amazing
Every fall, my partner and I pick a crisp sunny day to sit in her back yard, a pair of golden maple trees rising above us, the Blue Ridge Mountains visible on the horizon, and read aloud to each to each other from Thoreau's marvelous essay, "Autumnal Tints." I especially like the section "Fallen Leaves": "How many flutterings before they rest quietly in their graves!They that soared so loftily, how contentedly they return to the dust again, and are laid low, resigned to lie and decay at the foot ...more
Oct 25, 2015 Lauren rated it it was amazing
“Autumnal Tints” was one of Henry Thoreau’s last pieces of published literature. He finished its writing as he was dying of Tuberculosis. When I learned the context in which this essay had been written, it took on even greater significance for me. “Autumnal Tints” is a great essay, not only because Thoreau so wonderfully captures the beauty and detail of fall, but because he seeks a symbolic meaning in the season. He writes of the autumn leaves, “How beautifully they go to their graves! How gent ...more
Dennis Noson
Jan 11, 2014 Dennis Noson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully done edition of one of Thoreau's later natural history essays... in praise and thanks for the phenomenon of New England's forest leaves turning passionate before the Fall.
Jun 27, 2014 Kristi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoreau's eloquent and evocative elegy to the Autumn of life as it is manifested in a New England Autumn. Stunning and breathtaking. Thoreau at his best.
Dec 02, 2009 Mike rated it liked it
Remarkably description of fall foliage. Would probably ring more true reading on a porch swing surrounded by trees changing color.
Aug 05, 2007 Justin rated it it was amazing
A wonderful meditation on the colors and character of autumnal New England.
Nicole R
This book suffered from misplaced expectations, so please take my review with a grain of salt! In fact, maybe don't even read it....I am just including it for my records.


Okay, I totally thought Thoreau was a poet. But, according to Wikipedia, he is an " author, poet, philosopher, polymath (I don't even know what this means), abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian". Well, this is not poetry, which I would have noticed by simply cracking the boo
Lachlan Pezet
Nov 01, 2013 Lachlan Pezet rated it it was amazing
"The trees are now repaying the earth with interest what they have taken from it. they are discounting. they are about to add a leaf's thickness to the depth of the soil. This is the beautiful way in which Nature gets her muck.....We are all richer for their decay."

A very strong contender for my desert Island book judging by how often I return to Thoreau's wonderful survey of the changing world.
Dec 07, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was ok
This is a small book documenting the changes of the leaves to autumn colors. He took specific trees and or bushes and described the "bright tints in the order of which they present themselves". An interesting concept for a book. I didn't read this page for pages but read a little here and there. His descriptions made me feel as if the leaves were right in front of me.
Jan 23, 2013 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoreau is one of my favorite authors to read or to read about his short life. I thoroughly enjoyed the introduction to the book written by Robert D. Richardson. Therein, I learned much about Thoreau's life that either I was previously unaware of, or had simply forgotten. Then, Thoreau's essay was delightfully descriptive. This is a repeat read for Fall.
Apr 04, 2016 Jules rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, nature, journal
Methodical descriptions of the Red Maple, Elm and the Sugar-Maple, not to mention painstaking depictions of the Scarlet Oak make for a very dull read, sadly. This is not Thoreau at his best and certainly this meditation on the colours of fall is no Walden.
Nov 25, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The essay that introduces Thoreau's last magazine piece austutely shows how he comes to terms with his own death.

Interleaved art keeps you on the present as you read Robert Richardson's account of Thoreau's visionary synthesis.
Pablo Paz
Oct 17, 2011 Pablo Paz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Muy linda la descripción de los arces rojos
Oct 10, 2012 Megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Beautiful. Perfect for October.
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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.

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“We cannot see anything until we are possessed with the idea of it, take it into our heads, - and then we can hardly see anything else.” 4 likes
“Some single trees, wholly bright scarlet, seen against others of their kind still freshly green, or against evergreens, are more memorable than whole groves will be by-and-by. How beautiful, when a whole tree is like one great scarlet fruit full of ripe juices, every leaf, from lowest limb to topmost spire, all aglow, especially if you look toward the sun! What more remarkable object can there be in the landscape? Visible for miles, too fair to be believed. If such a phenomenon occurred but once, it would be handed down by tradition to posterity, and get into the mythology at last.” 2 likes
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