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Walden or Life in the Woods and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience [Anglais] [Poche]

Henry David Thoreau , W. S. Merwin
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Description de l'ouvrage

3 août 2004

Naturalist and philosopher Thoreau's timeless essays on the role of humanity -- in the world of nature, and in society and government.

• A concise introduction that gives readers important background information
• A chronology of the author's life and work
• A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context
• An outline of key themes and plot points to help readers form their own interpretations
• Detailed explanatory notes
• Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work
• Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction
• A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience

Enriched Classics offer readers affordable editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and insightful commentary. The scholarship provided in Enriched Classics enables readers to appreciate, understand, and enjoy the world's finest books to their full potential.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Poche .

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Biographie de l'auteur

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.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Détails sur le produit

  • Poche: 320 pages
  • Editeur : Signet Classics; Édition : Reissue (3 août 2004)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0451529456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451529459
  • Dimensions du produit: 1,9 x 10,8 x 17,1 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 2.592 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
  • Table des matières complète
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Thoreau's collected works in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau (Boston, 1906) will eventually be superseded by The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau (Princeton, 1971- ), a more complete edition that incorporates modern textual principles in its editing. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Par Cuperlier
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
Voilà un joli pamphlet, ma foi, de la part d'un homme qui passa deux ans dans une cabane au fond des bois (enfin, sur la propriété de son pote Whitman et pas trop loin de la ville !!). Ce qui est réellement intéressant dans cet écrit, c'est de voir à quel point il est actuel alors qu'il a été rédigé au XIXème siècle! A lire (au moins une fois !)
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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5  30 commentaires
36 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The book that started it all? 18 novembre 2001
Par Christo - Publié sur Amazon.com
Compared to books such as "Voluntary Simplicity" by Duane Elgin and similar books, one realises that many of these ideas are nothing new when one reads Walden by Thoreau. In fact, what strikes me is that we as a Western society have not overcome many of the issues pointed out by Thoreau 150 years ago. Thoreau left Concord MA "disdainful of America's growing commercialism and industrialism", the slavish materialism of that society then. One wonders what he'll say if he would see the extend today - in the post Coca-Cola society. But then Thoreau was a man who clearly stepped to his own drum. Becuase of slavery, he refused to support the state on moral grounds. How would his views have been tolerated today?
I am not luddite, but my favourite quote from the book is this: "We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing to communicate". Does this say something about the Internet, newsmedia and our contemporary information overload, or what?
I liked the introduction and footnotes of Meyer. Just enough to provide context and explanation, but never intrusive. This book is as relevant today as it was during Thoreau's lifetime. Highly recommended.
39 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A philosopher sage amongst the Americans 27 avril 2000
Par Sravaniya D. Pecoraro - Publié sur Amazon.com
Anyone who prefers Emerson above Thoreau surely does so with a view to increasing his own popularity. Thoreau is too outspoken to be liked by everyone--indeed, to identify more with him is a kind of social suicide. But then, Thoreau was ever convinced that he was not here to please anybody, but rather to be authentically what he was.
To find a modern western man who so thoroughly embodies the wisdom of antiquity is as rare as "the tooth of a dragon, or the hair of a phoenix." Henry David Thoreau is such a man. More than a mere combination of past, present and future, he joins together the most mundane, prosaic and ordinary considerations of daily life with the loftiest and noble thoughts of mankind. Furthermore, he perceives the spiritual aspirations and practices of east and west as one coherent whole. He was well acquainted with the classics of both hemispheres--The Tao de Ching, The Bhagavad-gita, Vedic writings, The Iliad and more--and here, distilled for us common folk, is that wisdom as seen from the his viewpoint. Bertrand Russell has given what would seem the crown laurel to Thoreau calling him "a pure romantic"-in contrast to the weak romanticism of Victor Hugo, or the rather soft variety found in Emerson.
During his lifetime, 700 or so of the 1,000 copies he had printed of "Walden" wound up in his parents' attic, ostensibly making him a failure as a writer. Since then he has become a literary god, and without doubt one of the most influential writers of the past 200 years. It was Thoreau's tract entitled Civil Disobedience, written because of his objection to paying tax to the American government--a so-called democracy involved in slave trade, westward expansion, displacement of indigenous population and imperialistic annexation of Mexico--that gave fuel to human rights movements in the 20th Century. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. based their efforts on this small but amazingly powerful essay, which only goes to show that Confucius--one of Thoreau's favorite sage authors--was right; the thought of an intelligent man sitting in his room can kill a king and destroy his country. And so it was that slavery was abolished in the United States, India attained home rule and racial integration in the U.S. progressed.
Since the industrial revolution in the 18th Century, the central goal of western technological society has been economic growth. And to achieve an economic growth that is endless, corporations in the latter half of the 20th century have encouraged consumption that is mindless. But by the dawn of the 21st century, this central project has proven to be obsolete, for nature cannot sustain endless economic growth, and neither can the people in general. Nature has rebelled by refusing to absorb the transgressions against her dignity (pollution), and humanity has expressed insurgence through psychological and physical disease. Dr. Willis Harman has discussed the matter in detail in his book, "Global Mind Change" but, though more than a decade has passed since its publication, the important and timely points that it makes have yet to be assimilated by the public. Thoreau, however, was already tuned in to this problem way back in the 1840's. Astrologers attribute an overlap of a little more than 200 years between astrological ages, and this puts Thoreau in with the new Aquarians.
His observations--on economy, simplicity, learning, human nature, participation mystique when close to nature and the close proximity of God--are unpresuming, candid and at times downright hilarious. I say Henry David Thoreau is a philosopher sage amongst the American transcendentalists, and a man who was not unconcerned about his less educated or enlightened fellows. He took tremendous pains to share himself with us through his writings, and there are many innovations of his that are already being practiced by posterity. Not the least of these is the growing awareness that ADULT EDUCATION for men and women can be a lifelong pursuit. I agree with Dr. Harman that this is on its way to becoming the new central project of western society, known as it is presently by the name, The Personal Growth Movement.
In Walden the seeker will find lucid clues as to what the Aquarian Age is all about, its characteristics and even the means of cultivating the new consciousness. But this is not a book for people who like easy reading. Henry would demand of you that you read it with the same diligence and deliberation as it was written. It took him five years of refinement before he was satisfied with the manuscript. Walden will provide you and your descendants with many more years of pleasure and enlightenment than that.
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Manifesto of U.S. Radicalism 1 juin 2001
Par Tim Hundsdorfer - Publié sur Amazon.com
H.D. Thoreau is the first and most important figure in U.S. Radicalism. This collection provides the essential background for the latent radicalism inherent in American politics, especially as it was vocalized in the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements of the 1960's.
Disobedience is the shorter of the texts, but probably more important. It is an attempt to justify moral anarchism and a call to act on individual judgements about justice.
Walden can be interpreted as an important treatise against consumerism and the dangers of specialization, as well as an appreciation of the natural environment. Those interested in anti-globalization/anti-free trade movements would do well to read Walden to gain an understanding of where anti-consumerism came from and an examination of its ethical implications. However, it also pays to remember that Walden is a failed experiment and, in the end, Thoreau returns to Cambridge.
Thoreau, as political philosophy, has certain problems. Moral anarchy and denial of the social contract is difficult to replace in civil society--Thoreau makes no more than the most vague references as to what could replace it, seeming to rely on the fact that his personal sense of justice is universal.
Nevertheless, Thoreau's conscience has resonance and is as relevant today as ever. His rejection of consumerism as the basis for society and its stratification also teaches important lessons.
Thoreau represents that first step in understanding the other part of American political thought--extremely different from that of the Constitution and Federalist Papers--but with profound connections to the work of Dr. Martin Luther King.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Transcendentalist Savage 12 mars 2001
Par TheIrrationalMan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Scorning the mass slavery of modern industrial society, Thoreau conducted his most famous experiment in life: to live in solitude in a shack he builds himself on the edge of Walden Pond, on the land of Emerson, with whom he lived as a handyman and pupil. Thoreau, clearly, was no less radical than his mentor, Emerson, though he differs at least in the fact that he was not merely content with preaching, but actually strove to put his ideals into practice. The book is a profound statement of Transcendentalist individualism and self-reliance and a hymn to nature, contentment and joy. He recounts, at one point, the episode in 1845, during which he was imprisoned for one night for defying the local government and not paying his poll-tax. He mentions, in passing, how he allowed a runaway black slave to have safe passage through the region. His retreat into solitude was partly impelled by his disgust with the war with Mexico, and partly because he could not accept that he could live under a governemnt that was also a slave's government. Thoreau, a neo-Cynic, a modern stoic, emphasises a return to the basic, uncomplicated life, free from the cares and fetters of what he calls "odd-fellow society" and celebrates, above all, simplicity, magnanimity and trust. Glorying in the animal vitality of his body (though he was singularly unable to appreciate women) his ruminations encompass the most prosaic details of life in the woods, such as the migrations of birds, fishing, his own bean-farm, along with powerful insights into self-improvement, learning, generosity and other topics, interspersed with allusions to his favourite literature, the "Iliad" of Homer and the texts of ancient Hindu philosophy and religion. A refreshing and inspiring encounter with a fascinating individual in the history of letters.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Wrote and died before his time arrived 25 novembre 2011
Par Lost John - Publié sur Amazon.com
Thoreau died, aged 44, in 1862. Walden: or, Life in the Woods, based on his experiment in subsistence living between 1845 and 1847, was one of only two books published in his lifetime. Neither was a commercial success. His 'time' came later, and could plausibly be said to be still continuing. By the end of the nineteenth century a vast amount of his writing was in print, including much taken from the 39 notebooks of daily jottings that constituted his Journal. Each generation since has warmed to one or another facet of his writing - his philosophy, observation of nature, simple living, and refusal to pay taxes to a government that supported slavery and waged the Mexican-American War.

For purists, it is all too easy to pick holes. Thoreau's philosophy was far from rigorous in an academic sense; many of his observations from nature were not scientifically robust; building his log cabin only one and a half miles from his parents' home and continuing to buy essentials in Concord (he was on his way to the shoe-menders when arrested for non-payment of taxes), he cannot credibly be said to have cut himself off from society; and for his refusal to pay taxes he spent only one night in the local lock-up before an aunt paid his debt. But to pick holes would be to risk missing several important points. First and foremost, he did succeed in sustaining himself at a basic level for fully two years. His diet was essentially, though not exclusively, vegetarian; he drank only water; kept no pets or other livestock; and seems never to have even thought of acquiring and maintaining a family. In so doing, he successfully demonstrated that living in such a way demands only a very small cash income, so that it is not necessary to work anything like "full-time", thus releasing much time for walking, reading, contemplation and writing. He derived great personal satisfaction from that lifestyle and took particular pleasure in his cabin, built by his own hands.

The book is not an easy read and a measure of sympathy with the undertaking will be required to get most readers beyond the opening chapters. Even then, all but the most enthusiastic would have to concede that the book is patchy. However, some of the best patches serve to make the whole worthwhile. Such a passage is a description of a hawk in flight found on page 210 of this edition ("On the 29th of April, as I was fishing from the bank near the Nine-Acre-Corner bridge..."). Incidentally, to get the absolute most out this passage, and the whole book, readers will need to know the length of a perch (as in rod, pole and perch, 40 to a furlong). It is sixteen and a half feet, or 5.08 metres.
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