Links for Specific Works of Thoreau

Walden - Maine Woods - Cape Cod - Civil Disobedience - Life without Principle - Slavery in Massachusetts - Plea for Captain John Brown - Walking

Also: More Thoreau information on other sites

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  • A sage for all seasons - from John Updike's introduction to a new edition of Walden - "Walden has become such a totem of the back-to-nature, preservationist, anti-business, civil-disobedience mindset, and Thoreau so vivid a protester, so perfect a crank and hermit saint, that the book risks being as revered and unread as the Bible."
  • On Thoreau's Walden by Steven C. Scheer - "Thoreau's Walden is mythic, poetic, fictitious, fabulous, and metaphoric in the best senses of these terms."
  • The Deliberate Life: Thoreau at Walden Pond by Stevan Alburty - "I needed to face the greatest challenge of my life like a man: the time had come to read Walden."
  • Analysis and Notes on Walden by Ken Kifer - "Today, Thoreau's words are quoted with feeling by liberals, socialists, anarchists, libertarians, and conservatives alike."
  • Study Text of Walden & Reading Walden - "It is not an easy book for a reader — especially a first time reader — to sort out and to find order in." - prepared by Ann Woodlief at VCU
  • Thoreau's Walden - "Thoreau called the move an experiment, to test the Transcendentalist idea that divinity was present in nature and the human soul." - from NPR 
  • Walden Warming - "day after day, year after year, he searched for the first blooms of more than 300 plant species and watched for the first arrivals of migrating birds ... nearly 160 years later, Thoreau’s detailed observations form the basis of a long-term study of how climate change is altering the timing of seasonal biological events"
  • Reading Walden Again from Ernie Seckinger - "What I will never do is catch up with my friend, Mr. Patterson, who has just completed his 27th reading"
  • Walden Pond (Psst -- It’s Not What You Think It Is) by Patrick C. Garner - "I waited in a long line of cars to turn into the parking lot ... I glanced at my watch: 7:25 am."
  • Walden Pond State Reservation - "To protect the natural resources of the area ... the number of visitors is limited to no more than 1,000 people at a time. Dogs, bicycles, floatation devices and grills are prohibited." - Walden trail map
  • A History of the Uses of Walden Pond - by Austin Meredith - "Walden has been a degraded landscape since early in the European intrusion ... The remarkable thing about Thoreau's contribution, [is that it] caused people for the first time to want to respect Walden" 
  • The struggle for preservation of Walden Pond - "Walden Pond in Lincoln and Concord, Massachussets - a worldwide symbol of the conservation movement - has become a battleground for often-angry opposing environmental-action groups."
  • Lake Walden - "It became the most popular summer resort in the area, hosting endless clubs, associations, Sunday school outings, encampments, and excursions."
  • Under Water Walden - by Kristina Joyce - "Although I was not the first to dive in Walden, I am probably the first to photograph it under water."
  • Tracing the Source of Walden Pond's Waters - "Over the years, the speculation that it is fed from a source far away has gradually hardened into an accepted fact ..."
  • Roland Robbins' 1945 Excavation at Walden Pond - "While attending the Thoreau Centennial held at Walden Pond on July 4, 1945, Robbins was enthralled by the story of the stone cairn reportedly marking the cabin site" - from the University of Kentucky
  • Walden Pond: Environmental Setting and Current Investigations - "little is known about the pond's ecological features"
  • A vernal pool outing in Walden Woods - "A red-spotted newt, American toad and green frog tadpoles, and many dragonfly and damselfly larvae were found"
  • The Walden List Members Page - Thoreau pencils, photos of a Walden first edition, Henry's favorite song, and much more of Amy Brown's poetry.
  • Indexing a Classic: Thoreau's fully annotated Walden, 2004, by - by Randall Conrad, who directs the Thoreau Project at Calliope, Inc.  - "The classically educated Thoreau, who brought only Homer with him to Walden, freely alludes to the great books the reader is presumed to know..."
  • A blog from England reviews Walden - "I cannot remember having to reassess a book as often, and as radically as Walden ..."
  • Walden photos with appropriate quotes from Thoreau's works, by Leo Kulinski, Jr.
  • An audio version of Walden at
         (Walden study note web sites are listed on the Walden Express)

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The Maine Woods...
  • The Thoreau-Wababaki Trail site shows all of Henry's travels in Maine, with a very nice map, dates for each trip, and specific information about Thoreau's Wabinaki guides. The map shows all of Thoreau's routes in Maine - click the map to enlarge
  • Katahdin, Chesuncook, and Allagash and East Branch from "Thoreau's Maine Woods" from - "The Portland Newspapers and WGME-TV spent three weeks paddling and hiking portions of Thoreau's route, guided by the author's words and ideas."
  • A Maine Woods review - by Burndett Andres - "I followed his progress with my DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, and what a time I had."
  • Thoreau's Dream - by Ted Williams - "The philosopher from Concord envisioned a preserve in the "mossy, moosey" Maine Woods. Is it still worth saving?"
  • The Bateau - "The flat bottom and flared sides ...offered remarkable stability in rough water, while the long, narrow bow and stern gave them the maneuverability necessary in Maine's rocky and twisting rivers."
  • Up Katahdin with Thoreau - by David Rothenberg - "a weight in the gut somehow proves that the wild within belongs here, and will not be whatever home we choose."
  • Ktaadn section from The Maine Woods - from Ann Woodlief - "Shortly before he left Walden Pond in 1846, Thoreau spent two weeks in the woods of Maine, hiking up Mount Katahdin by way of the Penobscot West Branch ... He preferred the Indian spelling ..."
  • Thoreau Country: Ktaadn - by Stephen Ells - "He climbed Katahdin's south side to its high tableland in 1846; glimpsed it from thirty miles west in 1853; and canoed around its west, north, and east sides in 1857."
  • The Maine Woods Seen by Thoreau - a New York Times article from 1909 - "If it is true that of all our famous group of New England authors Thoreau was the only one who left at his death only a very limited circle of readers, it is equally true that proportionately the increase of his fame has had no parallel in the annals of our literature."
  • Thoreau's Tramps of 70 Years Ago - another New York Times article, from 1916 - "No one has looked with more intellegent eyes, nor recorded with a more facile pen the facts about this vast Summer vacation land."
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Cape Cod...
  • Introduction to the Princeton Edition by Robert Pinsky - "Launching into an opening spectacle of death, but full of startling jokes; ambling yet dramatic; shifting rapidly among whimsy, natural history, polemic, diary, research paper, parody, sermon, history and wisecrack - Thoreau's Cape Cod can amaze modern readers with its peculiar freshness."
  • Thoreau Walks the Cape - "He was a serious walker, bent on observing every mark on the landscape, the movement of grasses in the wind, the tracks of a hundred animals, the pattern of water flow, the composition of soil and rock, and all the other phenomena of the natural world."
  • Following Thoreau's "Tracks in the Sand": Tactile Impressions in Cape Cod – "By walking the shore, Thoreau rediscovers God's depths in the face of humanity's shallows. Because he recognizes his book to be no substitute for personal experience, he urges the reader to follow his 'tracks in the sand' and make 'an impression on the Cape', as he himself has done, and thereby to find at least a temporary respite from mortal fears by persevering in the quest to discern the transcendental truths inscribed in nature."
  • Cape Cod National Seashore - "The Highlands represent the northern terminus of glacial outwash materials that compose the spine of Outer Cape Cod. High Head displays an abrupt change in elevation. Here, the tip of Cape Cod changes from glacial to sand-deposition-based."
  • Highland Light History - Jeremy D'Entremont at New England Lighthouses - "In 1794 Reverend James Freeman ... said that there were more ships wrecked near the eastern shore of Truro than on any other part of Cape Cod. "A light house ... near the Clay Pounds should Congress think proper to erect one, would prevent many of these ..."
  • Cape Cod by Philip Greenspun - "Cape Cod is flatter than much of Kansas, more crowded and faster paced than many suburbs, and the water is generally too cold for swimming. Why then is it such a popular vacation spot? I'm not sure."
  • Geologic History of Cape Cod - Geologists are interested in Cape Cod because it was formed, by glaciers, very recently in terms of geologic time..."
  • Cape Cod: The Way it Feels - photos/poetry by Jay J. Pulli & Merrily A.Wolf
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Civil Disobedience... Thoreau Reader:  Home - Civil Disobedience - top

Life without Principle...
  • "Life without Principle" - "... from a manifestation of the divine, we are reduced to consumers or producers of material wants. These are the means, he reminds us, not the end." - Marianne Knuth
  • Idealism in "Life without Principle" - "Thoreau is able to get his readers to agree with him because he appeals to our idealistic notions of how nice it would be to love every minute of life, including work." - The Victorian Web
  • "'Life Without Principle' is an essay by Henry David Thoreau that gives his program for right livelihood." - from the editors of Wikipedia
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Slavery in Massachusetts...
  • Thoreau's Stance on Abolition - by Shannon Riley - "...the one movement which he finally could not resist allying himself to was the abolition of slavery. He was one of the most respected and simultaneously controversial abolitionists of his generation." 
  • Eloquence in a Waterlily - by Ann Pepi, on The Victorian Web - "With plain language and straightforward structure Thoreau manages to successfully conjure the image of a lily being plucked for a murky pond and seamlessly weave it into a metaphor for society."
  • Slavery in the Massachusetts Courts - "In 1638, the first African slaves arrived at Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Few English settlers thought to question the ancient institution of slavery — although it never existed in England"
  • Slavery in Massachusetts - "Most, if not all, of the limited 17th century New England slave trade was in the hands of Massachusetts."
  • African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts - "Although the complex role of African Americans, both enslaved and free, in colonial Massachusetts is an important part of our state and local history, the struggle for personal liberty in Massachusetts is central to a full understanding of our national history."
  • Elizabeth Freeman (Mum Bett) - "The jury ruled in favor of Bett and Brom, making them the first enslaved African Americans to be freed under the Massachusetts constitution of 1780"
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A Plea for Captain John Brown...
  • The Trial of John Brown: A Commentary by Douglas O. Linder - "Brown's efforts to secure racial justice were numerous ... He insisted that his two hired black employees be allowed to sit in his pew at his Congregational Church - an unprecedented demand"
  • Wikipedia: A Plea for Captain John Brown - "Brown fought bravely and independently for justice, something his government failed to provide. - Unrealized, Brown's deeds can only be fully recognized when slavery has been abolished."
  • Us and Them in Thoreau's "A Plea for Captain John Brown" - "Henry David Thoreau combines rich prose and distinct political and social messages that guide the reader from the opening statement until the dramatic conclusion."
  • Re-evaluating John Brown's Raid at Harpers Ferry - "There is ample proof that John Brown was not a madman, but rather a dedicated activist who had perhaps more courage, not less sanity, than other antislavery men and women of his generation."
  • John Brown, 1800-1859 - "Of all the characters that played significant roles on the Kansas stage during the drama that was Bleeding Kansas, none left a legacy that compares to the controversial abolitionist, John Brown."
  • John Brown's Holy War - "I thank you that you have been brave enough to reach out your hands to the crushed and blighted of my race. You have rocked the bloody Bastille"
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