Written after he built and lived in a cabin off the shore of Walden Pond, Walden and Civil Disobedience chronicles Thoreau's experiences living a self-reliant life void of modern civilization's, and the government's, influence. Through this collection of essays, Thoreau rejects the notion that inner peace and contentment are attainable through outward advances such as economic, technological, and territorial development. He provides, instead, the argument that rather than improve a man's life, such developments strip it of dynamism and even meaning.
About the Author
Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1817. He graduated from Harvard in 1837, the same year he began his lifelong Journal. Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau became a key member of the Transcendentalist movement that included Margaret Fuller and Bronson Alcott. The Transcendentalists' faith in nature was tested by Thoreau between 1845 and 1847 when he lived for twenty-six months in a homemade hut at Walden Pond. While living at Walden, Thoreau worked on the two books published during his lifetime: Walden (1854) and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849). Several of his other works, including The Maine Woods, Cape Cod, and Excursions, were published posthumously. Thoreau died in Concord, at the age of forty-four, in 1862.
W.S. Merwin has published many highly regarded books of poems, for which he has received a number of distinguished awards--the Pulitzer Prize, Bollingen Award, Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets and the Governor's Award for Literature of the state of Hawaii among them. He has translated widely from many languages, and his versions of classics such as The Poem of the Cid and The Song of Roland are standards.