'walden' by henry david thoreau

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most of us probably would snicker a little at someone in their '30s or '40s who claimed to have had his life changed by reading 'walden' or 'nausea' or 'the stranger' as an adult, but i don't know, what are we supposed to be moved by when we grow up? john updike?

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Friday, 27 April 2012 17:04 (eight years ago) link

and I was like man I couldn't do that see

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Friday, 27 April 2012 17:05 (eight years ago) link

I completely agree J.D.

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Friday, 27 April 2012 17:08 (eight years ago) link

i started reading this at 25, also dostoyevsky

thomp, Saturday, 28 April 2012 10:41 (eight years ago) link

i think the Formative Encounter With Great Art thing is really more about having something click about how art exists and works and has agency: but it presents itself as something else

thomp, Saturday, 28 April 2012 10:44 (eight years ago) link

one year passes...

most of us probably would snicker a little at someone in their '30s or '40s who claimed to have had his life changed by reading 'walden' or 'nausea' or 'the stranger' as an adult,

walden is a book for grown-ass folks, ain't no teenagers out there counting their pennies and despairing of life

j., Saturday, 18 January 2014 16:53 (six years ago) link

people are sneery orthodox cunts yo

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Saturday, 18 January 2014 16:56 (six years ago) link

i think the Formative Encounter With Great Art thing is really more about having something click about how art exists and works and has agency: but it presents itself as something else

I know this is a couple years old, but I'd like to read some clarification of this.

Formative Encounter With Great Book is not necessarily Formative Encounter With Great Art, right? Especially with something like Walden (which I don't think I ever finished, to be honest), it doesn't seem to be the literary values in the work that would be potentially life changing.

When I started reading that, actually I thought it was going to be something about the right book at the right time, or the good enough book at the right time. I think there were books that were very important to me at certain points when I was a teenager or in my early 20s that might not have been the best of their type but that gave me what I need at a certain point, or allowed me to take from them what I needed at a certain point. Sometimes I think if you didn't get a certain idea from one author, you would get it from a different one, because you were semi-consciously looking to get that idea to begin with.

If you liked "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" (I think that's the exact title), don't forget "Life Without Principle."

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 18 January 2014 17:24 (six years ago) link

fwiw i was not endorsing the idea of snicking at someone for having their life changed by a book or reading the 'wrong' book at a certain age, i still love all the books i mentioned.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Saturday, 18 January 2014 21:36 (six years ago) link

*snickering, even.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Saturday, 18 January 2014 21:36 (six years ago) link

this summer i swum in walden pond!

mustread guy (schlump), Saturday, 18 January 2014 21:45 (six years ago) link

but please no, continue

mustread guy (schlump), Saturday, 18 January 2014 21:45 (six years ago) link

one year passes...

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/19/pond-scum

i kinda love how demented this makes him seem. the doormat thing in this is friggin' hilarious. i laughed out loud. and the shipwreck story is amazing as well. the big thoreau takedown! take that, beardo!

scott seward, Friday, 16 October 2015 03:33 (four years ago) link

Loved this article

you too could be called a 'Star' by the Compliance Unit (jim in glasgow), Friday, 16 October 2015 03:57 (four years ago) link

I bought a cool-looking Thoreau book the other day, Faith in a Seed, which is apparently his last manuscript and seems like nature writing.

Epigraph: "Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders."

jmm, Friday, 16 October 2015 05:02 (four years ago) link

one year passes...
one year passes...
one year passes...

The comments upthread re: "children seem entirely alien to his mindset" is a very funny thing to say about a schoolteacher! It seems from most accounts he was great with kids, though not having any of his own.

I was reading his journals recently (volume V of the 1906 edition, available for free online) and came across this passage, from the Autobiography of Moncure Daniel Conway, which was reproduced in a footnote under HDT's journal entry for Sunday, August 7, 1853:

I recall an occasion when little Edward Emerson, carrying a basket of ripe huckleberries, had a fall and spilt them all. Great was his distress, and our offers of berries could not console him for the loss of those gathered by himself. But Thoreau came, put his arm around the troubled child, and explained to him that if the crop of huckleberries was to continue it was necessary that some should be scattered. Nature had provided that little boys should now and then stumble and sow the berries. We shall have a grand lot of bushes and berries in this spot, and we shall owe them to you. Edward began to smile.

handsome boy modelling software (bernard snowy), Wednesday, 2 September 2020 14:25 (three weeks ago) link

So basically he told a whopping lie, but it was effective and therefore admirable.

the unappreciated charisma of cows (Aimless), Wednesday, 2 September 2020 18:06 (three weeks ago) link

You could say that; or you could say that Thoreau had well absorbed Emerson's teachings (Ralph Waldo, not little Edward) about compensation.

Men suffer all their life long, under the foolish superstition that they can be cheated. But it is as impossible for a man to be cheated by any one but himself, as for a thing to be and not to be at the same time. There is a third silent party to all our bargains. The nature and soul of things takes on itself the guaranty of the fulfilment of every contract, so that honest service cannot come to loss. If you serve an ungrateful master, serve him the more. Put God in your debt. Every stroke shall be repaid. The longer the payment is withholden, the better for you; for compound interest on compound interest is the rate and usage of this exchequer.

handsome boy modelling software (bernard snowy), Wednesday, 2 September 2020 19:33 (three weeks ago) link


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