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Thoreau and the American Idyll
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” Thus wrote the American writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau in his seminal work, Walden, published in 1854.
A fierce opponent of slavery, a champion of the simple life, a lover of nature and an enemy of the modern, Thoreau has become emblematic of one version of American values. His work has been an inspiration to politicians and writers alike, from Martin Luther King to Gandhi, Yeats and Tolstoy. Yet in many ways Thoreau remains a mystery, a man of contradictions who advocated self-sufficiency but was happy to let others, including his mother, do his washing and cook his meals.
Your irrational mind