Disdainful of America's booming commercialism and industrialism, Henry David Thoreau left Concord, Massachusetts, in 1845 to live in solitude in the woods near Walden Pond. Walden, the account of his stay, conveys at once a naturalist's wonder at the commonplace and a Transcendentalist's yearning for spiritual truth and self-reliance.
"Walden" was the fruit of Thoreau's two-year stay on the Walden Pond. He carefully shaped the book to follow the natural cycle of the seasons, yet it is more than an account of life in the woods, it is a quest for personal freedom and individuality that evokes nature without being sentimental or distorting the natural world. Though widely reviewed at the time of publication, sales did not reflect the attention the book received. It has now become an American classic. "Civil Disobedience", was also based on Thoreau's experiences during the period he lived on the pond. In 1846, he was arrested for not having paid his poll tax, as a way of demonstrating that he did not recognize the authority of a government that "buys and sells men, women, and children." It is a treatise against slavery and a government that wages war to support injustice.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-62) was born in Concord, Massachusetts and educated at Harvard. He became a follower and a friend of Emerson, and described himself as a mystic and a transcendentalist. Although he published only two books in his lifetime, Walden (from which this book is taken) is regarded as a literary masterpeice and one of the most significant books of the 19th century.
A few brief but unaltered excerpts, carefully placed in context by an introduction and with ellipses scrupulously indicated, touch on the activities of a year's cycle and give the young reader a first taste of this beloved 19th-century author's account of his solitary stay in a pond-side cabin. With their dramatic use of black combined with the subtle tones of nature, Sabuda's handsome linoleum-cut illustrations recall Tejima's work in wood; quietly reflecting Thoreau's own reverence for his surroundings, they are sure to attract readers. Whether such abridgments are worthwhile is always debatable, but this one is done with such sensibility to its source that it's worth consideration. (Kirkus Reviews)
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