Back to top

Thoreau Reader



Henry Thoreau in 1856
         A Project in Cooperation with the Thoreau Society


  The Thoreau Reader

 Annotated works of  Henry David Thoreau


  "The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my

    soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my

    good behavior.   What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?"



Walden - Thoreau's 1845 experiment in living well, with old and new photos, Henry's survey of Walden, the Walden Express, a brief history of Walden, and a report on "progress" at the pond.

The Maine Woods - Three excursions to Maine in the 1840's and 50's, an attempt to climb Maine's tallest mountain, and on the last trip, a very smart Indian.

Cape Cod - Four trips to the Cape from 1849 to 1857 are narrated as a single visit; with a walk along the outer banks. This is Thoreau's funniest book.

A Yankee in Canada - An 1850 visit to Canada: Henry likes the scenery, but is not impressed by pageantry.


Civil Disobedience - Thoreau's influential 1849 essay on following your own conscience.

Life without Principle - In 1854, Thoreau railed against a culture whose primary focus is financial.

Slavery in Massachusetts - Also in 1854, Thoreau attacked the support of slavery in his home state.

A Plea for Captain John Brown - Brown tried to ignite a slave rebellion; Thoreau responded in 1859.

Succession of Forest Trees - 1860: "Convince me that you have a seed ... I am prepared to expect wonders."

Walking - 1862: Thoreau describes "wildness" as a treasure to be preserved, rather than plundered.
More about Henry Thoreau:


  •  Why did Thoreau live in the woods? - A quick answer
  •  Who He Was & Why He Matters - An introduction by Randall Conrad
  •  In New Jersey, Thoreau lectures, and completes his largest surveying job - Wayne T. Dilts
  •  Thoreau’s First Year at Walden in Fact & Fiction - by Richard Smith
  •  Photographs of Walden Pond and the cabin site: Walden Pond - Past & Present
  •  Out of the Woods: How I Found My Muse at Walden Pond - from Lizbeth Finn-Arnold
  •  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Burroughs: Three Thoreaus
  •  Thoreau Transforms His Journal into “Slavery in Massachusetts” - by Sandra Petrulionis
  •  The development of Thoreau's View of Science - by Nina Baym
  •  Genius Ignored - a detailed biography of Henry Thoreau by Lucius Furius
  •  The Emerson-Thoreau Correspondence: The Dial Period - Emerson in Europe - F. B. Sanborn
  •  The Theory, Practice, & Influence of Thoreau's Civil Disobedience - by Lawrence Rosenwald
  •  George Willis Cooke, in 1896, discovered The Two Thoreaus
  •  Henry Thoreau & "Civil Disobedience" by Wendy McElroy
  •  What did Henry look like? Images of Thoreau from words and pictures
  •  The Hawthornes on Thoreau - descriptions from both Nathaniel and Julian Hawthorne
  •  From Randall Conrad: "A Sylvan Appearance": Woodplay in The Maine Words
  •  Castles of Sand: Thoreau on the Seashore - a Cape Cod introduction by Leila Hatch
  •  Selected Thoreau entries from Bronson Alcott's Journals, from 1848 to 1862
  •  Thoreau's Lecturing Career & Thoreau's Reception as a Lecturer - by Bradley P. Dean
  •  From Victor Carl Friesen: Thoreau's Nature as Incessant Miracle
  •  Ellery Channing Remembers Thoreau: excerpts from Thoreau, the Poet-Naturalist
  •  Rod Giblett sees Henry Thoreau as A "Patron Saint" of Swamps
  •  Where Thoreau Practiced Self-Resistance & Ate Squirrels - W. Barksdale Maynard
  •  1928 Pulitzer Prize: Thoreau: Transcendental Economist - Vernon L. Parrington
  •  Poetry on Henry - poems written about or inspired by Henry Thoreau
  •  Winnie-the-Pooh a Transcendentalist? Jason Arbaugh-Twitty's Pooh of Walden Pond
  •  Henry David Thoreau & the Hard Boiled Dick - by Lonnie Willis
  •  Ron Harton sees Henry Thoreau as a Model for Nature Writing
  •  HDT/TV - Henry on a mid 19th century talk show, from Lucius Furius
  •  Randall Conrad: Machine in the Wetland: Re-imagining Thoreau's Plumbago-Grinder
  •  American Transcendentalism by Ian Frederick Finseth, with links to related sites
  •  From Sandra Petrulionis - Mad Dogs & Escaped Pigs: Thoreau as Storyteller in the Journal
  •  Transcendental Ethos: Thoreau’s Philosophy & Antebellum Reform - Michael J. Frederick
  •  Bronson Alcott's 1862 tribute to his dying friend: The Forester
  •  Essay Before a Sonata: Thoreau - by composer Charles Ives
  •  Thoreau's Way from Emerson to Thoreau: The Gesture of Self-Naming - Albena Bakratcheva
  •  One Less Accountant - Can a book change someone's life? - from Rockford E. Toews
  •  Thirty-one years after the event, Robert Collyer remembers when Thoreau visited Chicago
  •  Pantheist Prophet: Henry David Thoreau - by Harold W. Wood, Jr.
  •  Wayne Dilts follows in the footsteps of  E.B. White: Walden Pond: A First Visitation
  •  A Thoreau Chronology - compiled by Bradley P. Dean
  •  Henry reports on a disaster - Thoreau and the Wreck of the St. John
  •  Walden, The Place - from prehistoric times to the present - by Ronald Wesley Hoag
  •  From Alfred I. Tauber - Henry Thoreau As a Mirror of Ourselves
  •  Selected Thoreau quotes, mostly from Walden, with links to the source of each quote
  •  Don't like Thoreau? Joshua W. Caldwell agreed with you in 1891- Ten Volumes of Thoreau
  •  Chinese Philosophy In America: How It Influenced Thoreau - by Linda Brown Holt
  •  Daniel S. Malachuk describes Thoreau’s Maine: “A Still More Perfect and Glorious State”
  •  The "Domestic Air" of Wilderness: Henry Thoreau & Joe Polis in the Maine Woods
  •  Thoreau's Journal was a central part of his writing process - this still can work for us today



Learn about the Thoreau Society, its activities, and how you can become a member
There's more: links to Thoreau on other sites - with links for specific works
Teaching Thoreau: Resources on this and other sites - New: Thoreau DVD
Suggestions for reading large documents on line - A note on scanning errors
For the more obscure words - Webster's 1913 Unabridged Dictionary
If Thoreau was here today... would he blog?
THUR-oh or Thor-OH? - and how do we know?

The portrait above is an 1856 daguerreotype, courtesy of the Thoreau Society Collections at the Thoreau Institute.

The Thoreau Reader is part of the EServer, at Iowa State University - Citing this site 

Copyright ©1999-2016 by Richard Lenat and EServer. All rights reserved. 

Permission to link to this site is granted.


"Much is published, but little printed." - Walden