Walking is not as well known as Thoreau's other works Walden, The Maine Woods, and Civil Disobedience. But it is a good place to start exploring his writing because it was his last book, in 1862, published by the Atlantic Monthly shortly after his death. It is less well known because it is general, as opposed to singular, in focus. It is his summing up of his thoughts on life: One should saunter through life and take notice; one need not go far (as Thoreau rarely left the 25 square miles of Concord and its population of 1,784, according to the 1840 census.)
This is not a political or ecological book as many advocates have stated; it does support nature, but in a small subtle way. He was a man of his age who possessed a variety of talents and abilities, similar to Jefferson and Franklin. He sought to encourage people to notice and saunter, but did not rail against anyone who chose not to. This was a favorite work of Justice William Douglas, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi. As the liberal jurist Douglas said, This book displays how Thoreau could have been transplanted to any American century and prospered. Jefferson, Franklin, Douglas, King, and Gandhi would be five men who could join him in his appreciation for sauntering and noticing.
Public Domain (P)2011 Deaver Brown
I am a Landscape Architect living in Hanover, Pennsylvania who enjoys historical nonfiction, fantasy novels, and zombie horror.
This is a great little work by Thoreau, and I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested in his catalog, be they a fan of his more popular books (Walden, Civil Disobedience, etc.) or new to the author’s unique and influential prose. The lecture is full of quotable and transcendental nuggets, and Thoreau manages to pull together many diverse topics into a very concise and flowing text; he moves seamlessly from observations about 19th century New England life to transcendental analysis of ancient Rome’s attitudes of nature to commentary on the human anatomy. A brief, insightful listen!
The lecture is full of quotable and transcendental nuggets, and Thoreau manages to pull together many diverse topics into a very concise and flowing text; he moves seamlessly from observations about 19th century New England life to transcendental analysis of ancient Rome’s attitudes of nature to commentary on the human anatomy. A brief, insightful listen!
Content aside, my biggest complaint is with the awful and amateurish quality of the narration. The sound file was never professionally recorded or edited; it is full of constant static, noise interruptions, and clicking sounds every time the narrator pauses or restarts his tape deck. The sound is not balanced, and it is obvious that the narrator did not use professional grade microphones or soundproofing; every time he moves close to or further away from the microphone, the noise level jumps.
Worst of all, the narrator is just plain bad at reading. He speaks with a thick accent and struggles over simple words and sentence structure; what was, I’m sure, originally a flowing and smoothly-given lecture by Thoreau has been turned into a choppy, befuddled listen.
How this ever got approved to sell on this website, I will never know. Now please excuse me while I find some public domain titles to record through my iphone and license to audible.
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