Walking (Thoreau)

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Walking is an essay written by Henry David Thoreau. Between 1851 and 1860 Thoreau read the piece a total of ten times, more than any other of his lectures. He considered it one of his seminal works, so much so, that he once wrote of the lecture, "I regard this as a sort of introduction to all that I may write hereafter." Thoreau constantly reworked and revised the piece throughout the 1850s, calling the essay Walking. Also at this time he was working on another piece called The Wild. Sometimes he would deliver one of the essays, while at other times he would read the other. Sometimes he would combine the two and call it, Walking; or, The Wild. Walking was published posthumously after Thoreau's death on May 6, 1862. It appeared in the June 1862 issue of the Atlantic Monthly.

It is the source of the quote:

Along with Ralph Waldo Emerson's Nature, and George Perkins Marsh's Man and Nature, it has become one of the most important essays in the environmental movement.

Excerpts[edit]

"I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil—to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society".

"Let me live where I will, on this side is the city, on that the wilderness, and ever I am leaving the city more and more, and withdrawing into the wilderness".

"Ben Jonson exclaims: 'How near to good is what is fair.' So I would say: 'How near to good is what is wild.'"

"Here is this vast, savage, hovering mother of ours, Nature, lying all around, with such beauty, and such affection for her children, as the leopard; and yet we are so early weaned from her breast to society, to that culture which is exclusively an interaction of man on man"...

"So we saunter toward the Holy Land, till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he has done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, as warm and serene and golden as on a bankside in autumn".

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