Sunday, 19 November 2017

Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862

Two years, two months and two days spent Thoreau isolated to meditate, read, write and make friends with animals in the countryside. Nevertheless, he had visitors and visited his family and nearby towns. He enjoys a distinguished literary position although he did never write fiction.

Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau

His mentor and friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said at his funeral “Thoreau had not achieved what he might have done if he had followed a different path”, but it is this peculiar lifestyle what has allowed him to become so relevant. In fact, Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King took his beliefs as lessons by which they were inspired. 

As Henry David Thoreau did not find a job he enjoyed, his working days at the pencil factory of his dad did not make him happy and his days at Harvard University were not special for him, he decided to isolate himself in the countryside to live deliberately to front only the essential facts of life, because according to him, all the problems start when we ambition material things. 

He tried to live in harmony with nature at Walden, using as few resources as possible, avoiding materialism and not being entangled in the complexity imposed by civilized society. He saw in the wilderness the preservation of the world. 

Firstly, he accepted the invitation of Ralph Waldo Emerson to work in his home as gardener and handyman for three years, having only the accommodation as salary. After that, Emerson allowed Thoreau to build a cabin in the fields of his house, on the shores of Walden Pond; this is where he spent a sojourn of twos, two years, two months and two days in isolation. 

One day, when he marched into town to have a shoe repaired, hence breaking his isolation a little bit, he was imprisoned as he had refused to pay a poll tax in support of Native peoples and against the war on Mexico. His family paid to make him free and he published a manifesto, “Civil Disobedience” that it is very renowned in which he declared “That government is best which governs not at all.” 

Feeling a special relationship with nature and having a special sympathy for Native peoples he produced his most famous work, Walden, full of moral philosophy, political theory alongside the personal experience of the author. A social criticism document, it was ignored in his lifetime only to be now one of the most memorable pieces of writing ever. Henry David Thoreau died of tuberculosis at the age of 44.

1 comment:

  1. Klasse gemachte Seite, das Layout gefaellt mir echt gut! War bestimmt ne menge Aufwand.