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Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) was an American naturalist and essayist and an important figure in the New England transcendentalist movement. He was born in Concord, Massachusetts, graduated from Harvard in 1837, and returned to live in Concord for most of his life. His best-known works are Walden, “Civil Disobedience,” and “Walking.” Although he was not widely appreciated during his lifetime, he has become one of the United States’ most celebrated authors and has had a lasting impact on environmental thought and American nature writing.

Walden recounts Thoreau's two-year stay in a rustic cabin he built on the edge of Walden Pond in a wooded area near Concord. This was not, as many people think, a wilderness experience; Walden lies only a mile and a half from ...

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