Walden; or, Life in the Woods
By Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts. He was an author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist, surveyor, and philosopher. Thoreau’s works intertwine his love of history, philosophy, and nature. Many of his theories about environmental history and ecology are still applied today. Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau became a key member of the Transcendentalist movement. The Transcendentalists' faith in nature was tested by Thoreau between 1845 and 1847 when he lived for twenty-six months in a homemade hut at Walden Pond. While living at Walden, Thoreau worked on the two books published during his lifetime: Walden (1854) and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849).
Walden, published on August 9, 1854, reflects on his journey and goal of living as simply as possible with limited possessions in a natural setting. In his influential and critically acclaimed book, Thoreau focuses on the idea of survival and how he could survive with very little. He advocated abandoning things that are not needed to survive in order to discover meaning in life. With its call for simplicity, for self-honesty, and for harmony with nature, it is one of the most influential and compelling books in American literature.