The Illustrated Walden or, Life in the Woods | Book Picks

"Our life is frittered away by detail. . . . Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!" ~Henry David Thoreau

"Our life is frittered away by detail. . . . Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"
~Henry David Thoreau

the illustrated walden or, life in the woods henry david thoreau | paradise found santa barbara
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Henry David Thoreau built his small cabin on the shore of Walden Pond in 1845. For the next two years, he lived there as simply as possible, learning to "eliminate the unnecessary material and spiritual details that intrude upon human happiness." There is something enchanting about going back to the essentials--as anyone who has seen photographs of the recreated cabin at Walden Pond can attest. A bed, a desk, two chairs...It is a vision of simplicity, of life distilled to its most meaningful essence.

Thoreau described his experiences in Walden, an autobiographical account of his experience living in the woods, but also a classic of nature writing and philosophy. For seekers of aesthetic, moral, philosophical, spiritual and material simplicity, Walden has long been a treasured favorite. This edition is beautifully illustrated, and has a solid heft without being too heavy--it is large enough to read comfortable, and invites you to slow down and sit with the images, and feel connected to this iconic writer and his experience of a beautiful place.

About the Author

Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 - May 6, 1862) was an American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, yogi, and historian. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Civil Disobedience (originally published as Resistance to Civil Government), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.

Among his lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy, in which he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern-day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close observation of nature, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and Yankee attention to practical detail.

He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life's true essential needs. He was a lifelong abolitionist, delivering lectures that attacked the Fugitive Slave Law while praising the writings of Wendell Phillips and defending the abolitionist John Brown. Thoreau's philosophy of civil disobedience later influenced the political thoughts and actions of such notable figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr.


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