Wa l den
- an annotated edition
 
by Henry David Thoreau - 1854
 
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"I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up." - from the title page of Walden and "Where I Lived, & What I Lived for
Henry's Walden cabin, drawn by Sophia Thoreau
 
"Thoreau pitched his Walden in this key; he claps his wings and gives forth a clear, saucy, cheery, triumphant note ... the book is certainly the most delicious piece of brag in literature ... It is a challenge and a triumph, and has a morning freshness and élan..." - John Burroughs
 

 
Table of Contents
 
1. Economy: Parts A - B - C - D - E
2. Where I Lived, & What I Lived for
3. Reading
4. Sounds
5. Solitude
6. Visitors
7. The Bean-Field
8. The Village
9. The Ponds: Parts A - B
 10. Baker Farm
 11. Higher Laws
 12. Brute Neighbors
 13. House-Warming
 14. Former Inhabitants; & Winter Visitors
 15. Winter Animals
 16. The Pond in Winter
 17. Spring
 18. Conclusion

 



Why did Henry Thoreau live in the woods? - a quick answer
 
A paper due soon on Walden?
  The Walden Express may be just your ticket.

 
Ask Jimmy: collected student questions & answers - the primary message of Walden



 
One Less Accountant - "Thoreau and Emerson saved me from spending a large chunk of my life as an accountant. Walden had the approximate effect of a 2x4 thwacking me between the eyes."
 
Thoreau’s First Year at Walden in Fact & Fiction - "What is it about Thoreau’s life at Walden that we find so interesting?  Why does his experiment have such a hold on our imagination?  More importantly, what was it like, not only for him, but for his contemporaries?"
 
Out of the Woods: How I Found My Muse at Walden Pond - "Thoreau had said, 'How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.' And during this time I began to wonder, was I truly living?"
 
Walden Pond: a First Visitation - "It has been 156 years since you left your house at Walden, Henry ... so I thought it appropriate and timely to issue an update about what 'progress' has been made at the pond."

  

 
A contemporary review...
 
    "The economical details and calculations in this book are more curious than useful; for the author's life in the woods was on too narrow a scale to find imitators. But ... he says so many pithy and brilliant things, and offers so many piquant, and, we may add, so many just, comments on society as it is, that this book is well worth the reading, both for its actual contents and its suggestive capacity." 
 - A.P. Peabody, North American Review, 1854
100 years later...
 
    "Thoreau, very likely without quite knowing what he was up to, took man's relation to nature and man's dilemma in society and man's capacity for elevating his spirit and he beat all these matters together, in a wild free interval of self-justification and delight, and produced an original omelette from which people can draw nourishment in a hungry day."
- E.B. White, The Yale Review, 1954
  

 
Photographs: Walden Pond - Past & Present
 
Walden, The Place - By Ronald Wesley Hoag
 

Thoreau's own 1846 survey map of Walden Pond
 
A ghostly Encounter - poem by Amy Belding Brown
 
The Walden Woods of  Thoreau's Youth - an early map
 
From Google Earth - what Walden looks like from space
 
Thoreau quotes, mostly from Walden, with links to their sources
 
Search for words or phrases in Walden in the Princeton Text Archive
 
For the more obscure words - Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, 1913 Edition
 
"Our problem today is that we have allowed the internal to become lost in the external ... So much of modern life can be summarized in that arresting dictum of the poet Thoreau: 'Improved means to an unimproved end'." - Martin Luther King, Jr., Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1964
  
"In Walden, Thoreau ... opens the inner frontier of self-discovery as no American book had up to this time. As deceptively modest as Thoreau's ascetic life, it is no less than a guide to living the classical ideal of the good life. Both poetry and philosophy, this long poetic essay challenges the reader to examine his or her life and live it authentically." - Kathryn VanSpanckeren
 
"The best and most Romantic memoir an American has produced is Walden — though nobody calls it one. ... What Thoreau has to overcome during his time in the woods is not a lapse in mental health. His great problem is to escape the mental health of his neighbors, their collection-plate opinions, their studious repetition of gossip ... There's not a note in the book of self-pity, or nostalgia. And why did he quit his cabin in the end?  'It seemed to me that I had several more lives to live.'" - Benjamin Kunkel
 
More information: Links to other Walden web pages
 

  
Walden was originally published as: Walden; or, Life in the Woods
Drawing by Sophia Thoreau - This edition copyright © 1999-2009 Richard Lenat, all rights reserved  

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