Or, Life in the Woods
Henry David Thoreau

Associated Excerpts

Henry David Thoreau with a propeller cap.

Henry David Thoreau Was Funnier Than You Think, Particularly on the Subject of Work

On the necessary “deep sincerity” of dark humor.
Cover image from the first edition of Thoreau’s Walden

The Book Read ‘Round the World

Literary history is packed into Concord’s “Old Manse,” but the tiny abode of Walden’s author proves the highlight of our New England trip.
Panting of a woman lounging with a book, titled “Dolce far niente” (The Sweetness of Doing Nothing), by Auguste Toulmouche, 1877.

We’re Distracted. That’s Nothing New.

Ever since Thoreau headed to Walden, our attention has been wandering.
Man under the starry sky.

Thoreau and the Business of Distraction

Thoreau-themed goods, designed for mindfulness, are the marketplace’s remedies for a problem which, according to Thoreau, was created by the marketplace itself.
Watercolor portrait of Bronson Alcott, a 19th century American philosopher and educator.

New England Ecstasies

The transcendentalists thought all human inspiration was divine, all nature a miracle.
Collage of nature images and transcendentalists' faces, with flowers in Emerson's eyes.

Emerson and Thoreau’s Fanatical Freedom

Why do the Transcendentalists still have an outsize influence on American culture?
A boulder marks the location where Brister Freeman’s house is thought to have stood.

Black People Lived in Walden Woods Long Before Henry David Thoreau

Decades before Thoreau's famous experiment, a community of formerly enslaved men and women had a much different experience of life in the woods.
Cover of "These Truths"

New Yorker Nation

In Jill Lepore's "These Truths," ideas produce other ideas. But new ideas arise from thinking humans, not from other ideas.

The True American

A review on the many publications about Henry David Thoreau's life for the bicentennial anniversary of his birthday.

Wild Thing: A New Biography of Thoreau

Freeing Thoreau from layers of caricature that have long distorted his legacy.