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The Portable Thoreau ❮Read❯ ➲ The Portable Thoreau Author Henry David Thoreau – Compact hardcover compilation of Thoreau's best known works edited by Carl Bode ContentsWalden CompleteA Week in the Concord and Merrimack Rivers selectionsThe Maine Woods The Wilds of the Penobscot L Compact hardcover compilation of Thoreau's best known works edited by Carl Bode ContentsWalden CompleteA Week in the Concord and Merrimack Rivers selectionsThe Maine Woods The Wilds of the Penobscot Life in the WildernessNatural History of MassachusettsA Winter WalkCivil DisobediencePoems A Yankee in Canada Concord to MontrealJournal WalkingLife Without PrincipleCape Cod The WellFleet OystermanLetters .

10 thoughts on “The Portable Thoreau

  1. Barrett Brassfield Barrett Brassfield says:

    Have to agree with EB White author of Charlotte's Web among other things who once said that every high school senior should be given a copy of Walden upon graduation Many of course will choose not to read it but for those who do and make it through the slog that is the first chapter Thoreau's timeless classic offers much wisdom on thoughtful living Why thoughtful living? Because Walden is full of what of what buddhists refer to as the fire of attention Each chapter even the dreadful first Economy is full of an intense attention to detail both philosophical and practical Walden may have been written by a 19th century New Englander but it's implications travel far beyond that limited scope of time and space At the very least readers of Walden in any age will be encouraged to forgo the way of the lemming and instead give a little thought to each step taken in life as opposed to just mindlessly stumbling off the proverbial cliff of life

  2. Jenna Los Jenna Los says:

    I had never read anything by Thoreau before this book I had of course heard of him but I never had the desire to read what I perceived would be a long dull book about the woods I love nature but I love being in nature not or so I thought reading about it That said Thoreau pleasantly surprised me; I actually really enjoyed reading these selections Walden isn’t merely hundreds of pages describing a flower or stream; Thoreau places a lot of philosophy in his work He stresses individuality and discovering oneself by leaving the trappings of civilization and its material desires behind I think he might even agree with me that you can’t be transformed by merely reading about Nature but you have to actually go out and experience it for yourselfOne of my favorite pieces was Walking His idea of a walk is no doubt a far cry from what we think of walking as today If you are ready to leave father and mother and brother and sister and wife and child and friends and never see them again – if you have paid your debts and made your will and settled all your affairs and are a free man – then you are ready for a walk 593 Thoreau would not approve of walking while talking on cell phones or listening to iPods; this detracts from truly engaging in the world around you Of course many of us are too anxiety ridden to relax enough for a stroll; we use the mp3 players to drown out our own thoughts on purpose since allowing them to take hold tends to be overwhelming And I think this fear of free thinking is what Thoreau was afraid would happen to a materialistic society? That we would become so preoccupied with working and making money to earn the things we think we need that nothing is ever enough and work is never done that our workday follows us home and fogs our thoughts that we no longer see any of the world clearlyDo yourself a favor and read Thoreau

  3. Tyler Thompson Tyler Thompson says:

    Anyone who’s spoken to me in the past two and a half years is likely to know this one thing about me I am OBSESSED with Transcendentalism And while this fascination has its original roots in Emerson’s essays and Whitman’s poetry it was upon reading Thoreau that I really began to feel I found a kindred spiritThoreau was one of the greatest thinkers to ever live and as such it’s not really possible to do a goodreads style review of his work so that’s not something I’ll attempt What can be reviewed however is the uality of this particular collection and boy howdy is it good At over 600 pages I don’t think “portable” is the most apt descriptor and yet I also don’t think this book could’ve been any shorter Not only does it contain the full version of Walden and Resistance to Civil Government but also some of Thoreau’s other landmark essays Walking Life Without Principle and snippets of some of his less famous books And all of this precluded by a beautiful introduction The complete package makes for a work of art ready to initiate the uninitiated into this wonderful mind and perhaps motivate those already familiar with Thoreau to dive a little deeper into his lesser known works

  4. Nick Nick says:

    Brilliant Favorite sections include Sounds Solitude and Brute Neighbors all from Walden The conclusion is great too as well as Civil Disobedience and A Winter WalkAnarchist Naturalist Individualist A gem

  5. Chris brown Chris brown says:

    Civil Disobedience I just finished reading this wonderful work of American political though and history Like all these old works that helped shape this country and laid the foundation of what it should be these few pages are far beyond epic He makes his contempt for the clearly hypocritical institutions of slavery the Mexican American war and the eventual annexing of Texas political corruption taxation revolution as well as some political ideology that was and still is staining the fabric American society and culture well known“But to speak practically and as a citizen unlike those who call themselves non government men I ask for not at once no government but at once a better government Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect and that will be one step towards obtaining it”This speaks far beyond going out and voting but actually getting involved in the system that says that it holds your best interests at its core and holding that system accountable to this statute Letting officials know that the state and government is in place to work for the citizen not the citizen is in place to support the state This was something that Thoreau foresaw and I believe as we are now in one of the times in history where the common American thought as well as the common American politician believes their work is far beyond the capacity of the average citizen to understand and would never acknowledge that the common American citizen is their work Early on he recognized and pointed out the corruption that was and still in the hearts of some elected officials and the morality of and in revolution which this country was founded on“All men recognize the right of revolution; that is the right to refuse allegiance to and to resist the government when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable”If you’re looking for a book that was foundational in its day and still as revolutionary a hundred and seventy something years later pick this up and give it a read If you are a Thoreau reader this is somewhat a divergence away from the birds and the trees but wonderful nonethelessMy Review of Walden by Henry David Thoreau Every so often I come across a book that not only causes me to examine my most steadfast beliefs but also resonates with them as if the book was a tuning fork struck against my soul Walden by Henry David Thoreau is one such book Calling it a mere book I feel is doing it an injustice What these letters these syllables and words form in their entirety is to me one of the great literary works of art Walden by Henry David Thoreau is a work of the greatest deepest philosophical proportions that any lover of wisdom would be doing him or herself a disservice by passing the opportunity to take the trip to the pond by Walden by Henry David Thoreau unlike other works of this magnitude is also not written so as that it confounds understanding to those whom would read this as template to their own love ode of nature On the dust jacket or back of the book you might find something euivalent to saying that Walden is the two year two month two day and knowing Thoreau two hour chronicles of a man that built a home and lived by a pond that gives title to the book It might also express his declaration of discontent of what was then modern man; his society that he felt lacked its right to claim civility and his technology This is all very much true but like Thoreau there was much than those opening words and simplified thoughts laying on the surface can explain What resides in these pages are what was then a new philosophical view that respected nature It explained that nature was than something to be tamed and or bent to the will of man and called for recognition of its sovereignty In Walden Thoreau also asserted that to call one’s self a man a civilized man one must not behave as the beasts of nature“The mass of men lead lives of uiet desperation What is called resignation is confirmed desperation From the desperate city you go into the desperate country and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind There is no play in them for this comes after work But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things”Henry David ThoreauWaldenThe first chapter Economy the longest single piece of work in the book outlines why he embarked on this mission From early on it reads as if a semi edited stream of consciousness that expresses a yearning to simplify one’s life and rid oneself of the rigors that social life and a proper standing in high society of New England demanded“Most of the luxuries and many of the so called comforts of life are not only indispensable but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind”Henry David ThoreauWaldenHe expresses his contempt for the high esteeming attitude which still prevails today people had and have for fashion homes and miss appropriated civic pride and calls all that read to come to an epiphany of what is true and what actually is necessary in life He also does not shy away from telling and expressing his faith He also does not hold a close mind in that believing he can only learn from faith solely but expresses how all of nature is part of creation and there by his learning is only heighten not hindered by experiencing and being a part of nature This being a part of nature he also felt and expressed that civilized man was again retreating from too rabidly“Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry”Henry David ThoreauWaldenI pause here to say that the chapter entitled Reading will forever hold a special place in my heart because of this uote here“A written word is the choicest of relics It is something as once intimate with us and universal that any other work of art It is the work of art nearest to life itself It may be actually breathed from all human lips; not be represented on canvas or in marble only but be carved out of the breath of life itself”Henry David ThoreauWaldenIf you read Walden for nothing else I say read enough to get to this point Read until you have arrived to this statement so you can fully appreciate the profoundness and beauty of what had been written what your eyes just had the privilege to have read Anyone that writes anyone that sings anyone that appreciates literature poetry and song for the art that it is understands the wonder that was expressed by such an uncomplicated and deeply insightful statement One other statement that truly reveals how this man born in 1817 and this work written in 1854 was far ahead of its time reaching into our own some one hundred and fifty four years later but also shows how far we have not gone in the those one hundred and fifty four years“Society is commonly too cheap We meet at very short intervals not having had time to acuire any new value for each other We meet at meals three times a day and give each other a new taste of that old musty cheese that we are We have had to agree on a certain set of rules called etiuette and politeness to make this freuent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war We meet at the post office and at the sociable and about the fireside every night; we live thick and are in each other’s way and stumble over one another and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another Certainly less freuency would suffice for all important and hearty communications”Henry David ThoreauWaldenClearly Thoreau touched on points that we still speak about today if not it is probably worse today We do not sit down with friends or family today for even one meal yet we hold strict contempt for strangers that disobey the rules of etiuette and politeness I once saw a woman curse another woman out because she did not hold the door open for her as they were walking in the store but the woman that walked in the store in front of the other woman did not even see or know another person was behind her so why would she hold the door open If we change the post office to starbucks or some fast food place for lunch and the fire side to tv or computer and we have relevant commentary about today This is where my love affair with Walden ends If you are reading this work for its philosophical merit alone then I will say upon approaching the chapter The bean field skip to the conclusion The remainder of the book is just details and true odes to birds fishing the pond and other natural aspects that have worth but reading all of them becomes very monotonous Read this book for its philosophical worth Read this book for its historical value and being one of the early roots of environmentalism and naturalism in America Read this book and ponder“Shall we always study to obtain of these of these things and not sometimes to be content with less?Henry David ThoreauWalden

  6. Jose Jose says:

    In reading Walden you have to realize that Thoreau put his life and soul into this little book It was his highest dream in life to be a philosopher poet so half of this book is essentially poetry disguised as prose I think that that's where people start losing interest but if you go in knowing this then the bulk of Walden makes a lot sense After the first two chapters Thoreau roughly follows a structure of first poetically describing some thing sound the village Walden Pond etc and then inserting some philosophical conclusion about it For Thoreau this is only logical He sees Nature as the source of all wisdom He is not trying to impose his philosophy on his experience He is letting his experience guide his philosophy Is this all in his mind? Is it even possible? Thoreau did his best I found especially compelling his ideas around poverty which are arguably the bottom line of Walden Thoreau realizes an acute difference between spiritual and material poverty and the exclusivity of the two Thoreau ardently believes that America of all places is the best place to free oneself of spiritual poverty In fact there are a couple beautifully patriotic moments in Walden for the close reader But he also realizes that material poverty is so excessively pitied by the well to do who are in fact often living in spiritual deserts themselves because of their material wealth or race towards it that all goes on in helpless darkness for generations See end of Baker Farm We are entrenched in a vicious cycle Of course this realization has many dramatic implications Are those implications too impractical to follow? Are they too idealistic? That's up to the reader to determineThoreau is extremely pretentious and perhaps harsh in this book and he admits to it But it is only because of his relentless passion for truth and aversion for sugar coated superfluities Thoreau urgently believes in living deliberatelyI am afraid of calling Walden a book about early environmentalism or ecology because I think that it downplays its role as a philosophical text Thoreau's philosophy just happens to see Nature as a source of wisdom and perfection I feel Thoreau was much disturbed by capitalism and industrialization and their effects on one's internal life than on cutting down trees In Walden we do see the beginnings of a passion for a scientific observation of nature but it is not the overarching point for Thoreau

  7. Rebekah Byson Rebekah Byson says:

    5 stars for the writings of Thoreau; 1 star for the Carl Bode 1947 edition I've owned this book for several years and have read bits of Thoreau but decided I would make an effort to read his writings fully and attentively I started with Walden last fall and picked this up again to work through the rest of his books and essays Reading Thoreau is like mining for gold which ironically was an occupation he had little respect for A modern reader has to sift through the 19th century pre Civil War sentiments that no longer ring true to a 21st century mind and pull out the nuggets that are timeless It is worth the effort I will find myself reading and re reading his words for the rest of my life But first I need to purchase a better collection Carl Bode is one of those out dated amateur psychoanalysts who find Freudian sexual syndromes everywhere he looks His commentary about Thoreau's biography and writings seem off the mark As soon as someone says Freud and Oedipus I immediately feel everything they say after that is wrong

  8. Amy Amy says:

    Oh my gosh I finished it Finally Definitely not the kind of book that you can’t put down but a good one all the same I love Thoreau’s imagery and descriptions all the naturalism is wonderfully soothing and relaxing at night which is when I read this I skipped ‘Civil Disobedience’ because it was so political and I couldn’t stand it but I loved most everything else Natural History of Massachusetts and Walden especially

  9. Emily Philbin Emily Philbin says:

    I think rereading Thoreau as an adult was certainly worth it as I found so much meaning in it and connected to it on a completely different level I would definitely recommend people revisit his texts

  10. Margaret Margaret says:

    I finally started reading The Portable Thoreau a year after my first and only so far trip to Walden Pond I'd gotten plenty of warnings to be careful of ticks there are not ticks really where I live or grew up and that one episode of House MD has put me off ticks for the rest of my life and a couple of other interns and I walked from the Concord train station all the way to Walden Pond On our way there we saw people out in their gardens a couple cars going by and realizing that Thoreau really did not go out into too much wilderness when he was living at Walden Pond However reading Thoreau as a modern philosopher of self reliance makes me forgive him somewhat for his lack of going into serious wilderness I think this is a strongly West Coast view of things Reading Thoreau for than just Civil Disobedience and Walden reveals a certain amount of nature writing that appears to have invented the genre for Americans This account of climbing to the top of Mount Katahdin the highest mountain in Maine seemed to me to have all the elements of modern nature and outdoors writing from the physical challenge of being outdoorsy to the consideration of nature and the natural world being witnessed I found Thoreau's journals to be particularly interesting giving a slightly less formal insight into Thoreau's thinking Overall a very literary souvenir of a literary trip in the middle of July experiencing early work of modern American naturalism

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