Although Henry David Thoreau was born over two centuries ago, in 1817, his thought is as essential to our troubled times as it is foundational to our nature writing. Chronological collections of environmental essays invariably begin with words from Thoreau the naturalist. Moreover, although his ideas are inherently American, they are influential worldwide. The civil disobedience of Thoreau the essayist famously inspired Gandhi. Laura Dassow Walls’s definitive—and eminently readable—biographical portrait demonstrates that Thoreau was not a hermit of Walden but rather a citizen of the world, concerned about the controversies of the day, such as slavery and war in Mexico. Discussing Thoreau’s short life long ago, and learning about his thoughts and writing, will deepen our understanding of our own time.
Read: Henry David Thoreau: A Life, Laura Dassow Walls
This course is offered with the generous support of the Association for Continuing Education.