Henry Davis Thoreau 1817--

Henry Davis Thoreau
The Doer
Why is Thoreau different from others?
• If a man does not keep pace with his
companions, perhaps it is because he hears
a different drummer. Let him step to the
music which he hears, however measured or
far away.
--- Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau, The Great
• 1. Dismissed as an idler, and a drifter and a minor
writer and a wasted Harvard graduate, and almost
forgotten in his day, and yet in our day, he is one
of few writers who deserve the appellation “ great”.
• 2. He put into practice of principles of plain living
and high thinking.
• 3. His journal of nearly 7000 pages transcribed his
daily thoughts, observations, readings and
encounters with nature and men.
Walden lake, where Thoreau found the real meaning of life.
A reproduction of the cabin where Thoreau lived for
two years and two months
A modern reader of Thoreau in the historic cabin
The nameless and timeless Henry
His life
1. Born in Concord, Massachusetts, July 12, 1817
2. In Harvard College in 1833, and graduated in 1837 as one of the honor
3. Opened a school, where he taught with his brother John
4. 1839, made a trip on Concord and Merrimack rivers with John
5. Helped Emerson edit The Dial and tutored Emerson’s children
6. In March 1845 ( when 28)began to work on a cabin at Walden Pond, and on
July 4, moved into the Walden cabin
7. 1846, arrested for nonpayment of poll tax
8. Published Walden on August 9, 1856
9. Met Walt Whitman in Brooklyn 1856
10. In 1860, contracted the cold that led to his fatal illness, and died in
Concord on May 6, 1862
11.In 1906, 20 volumes of Thoreau’s writings were published, including 14
volumes of his journal
Beauty originates from simplicity.
His major works
• 1.Walden , known for its modern style, simplicity of
diction and figures of speech, has 200 different editions
and been translated into every major modern language.
• 2. Walden was revised 8 times, and is read as the 19th
century Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
• 3. Civil Disobedience is the result of his jailed experience
in 1846, embodying the pioneering spirit of the American
frontiersman and a development of the philosophy in the
Declaration of Independence, having a great impact on
Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King.
Thoreau and Emerson
• A frog was made to live in a
swamp, but a man was not
made to live in a swamp.
• I had tenderly cherished the
flower of our friendship till one
day my friend treated it as a
• Emerson refused to recognize
Thoreau as a writer, but a
The present
The past
An American simplicity
The American literary tradition
• 1. Natty Bumpo---Civilized city and savaged
• 2. Ahba---Civilized ship and savaged sea
• 3. Hester---Civilized village and savaged forest
• 4. Huckleberry Finn---Civilized village and
savaged river
• Thoreau---Civilized Concord and the wild Walden
The American Cultural Tradition
Civilized England
The main character
The New World
1. Freedom
2. Human rights
3. Democracy
4. Wealth
The unknown
The frontiers
The American Dream
The West
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