Thoreau, Henry David (1817–62)

Born david henry thoreau, the naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher familiarly known as Henry David spent most of his life and dedicated much of his writing (published and private) to his native Concord, Massachusetts. Whatever the order of his given name (which he reordered shortly after his 1837 Harvard graduation), posterity simply refers to the celebrated sage of Walden Pond as “Thoreau,” a surname often connoting things mystical and mythical to subsequent generations of Americans.

Indeed, the life and writings of Henry David Thoreau are continual sources of inspiration, specifically for environmentalists—in the United States in particular, and throughout the world more generally. Why this is so is quite simple. Thoreau was a highly sensitive observer of nature; he was deeply interested and forever curious about ...

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