The ever-present risk when writing about Thoreau is that of reducing him to the two experiences for which he is best remembered: his twentysix months living at Walden Pond
, during which time he produced his first book and much of the manuscript that would become Walden, and the night he spent in Concord jail for refusing to pay his poll tax in protest against the American war with Mexico.
In between, he visited the Abbey Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky and Walden Pond
in Massachusetts to think about "the utopia of solitude."
What is especially sad is not that he needed Alexander Japp's 1881 visit to Braemar to coax some better sense into him,-what is sad is that such an otherwise acute reader failed miserably to see or hear the unashamed eroticism suffusing Thoreau's love--his own word (Walden 177, 213)--of Walden Pond
And we need to dispel the myth of Thoreau as the "wild woods hermit." Even when he was living near Walden Pond
, his cabin was about a mile from Concord and he walked into the village most every day.
The introduction includes this quote from Thoreau: "If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again; if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man: then you are ready for a walk." The author later says "Would Thoreau be admired if he never left Walden Pond
Thoreau at Walden Pond
abound in our national consciousness.
Walden's Shore thus articulates two "geo-narrative[s]," simultaneously contextualizing Thoreau's work within the history of nineteenth-century geological controversy and within the geological history of Walden Pond
"Writing America: Literary Landmarks from Walden Pond
to Wounded Knee" by Shelley Fisher Fishkin (the Joseph S.
"I am no more lonely than the loon in the pond hat laughs so loud, or than Walden Pond
Together they visited his beloved Walden Pond
, swam and sunned at beaches across New England and cheered for the Sox at Fenway Park.
The smoothest sailing occurs in his descriptions of Walden Pond
itself and of the wildlife he encounters in the vicinity, but it is a long hike through the woods with a misanthrope before we get to these passages.