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Monday, February 4, 2013

WEEK 6: HENRY DAVID THOREAU

February 4-10th

Henry David Thoreau
July 12, 1817- May 6, 1862


Thoreau, an American author, poet, philosopher & naturalist left a great deal of wisdom in his short lifespan.  He is likely best known for his book 'Walden', in which he wrote about his four year stint in Walden's Pond in order to 'live deliberately'.  

One of his friends was Ralph Waldo Emerson. You can just imagine the creative and inspired discussions between the two of them. Perhaps one of them went like this: "What do you think we should do to ensure our perpetuity?"  "Well, Ralph ... for one, I think you need to make your name more memorable ... Ralph Emerson doesn't sound important enough." "Well, do you think Henry Thoreau does?" "You've got a point ... let's stick in our middle names." "Good idea, Ralph." In fact though, I suppose most people know them simply by their last names - 'Thoreau' ... 'Emerson'.

Being known as an anarchist, his book Walden was inspirational to Mahatma Ghandi, who read it 1906, declaring Thoreau to be "one of the greatest and most moral men America has produced."

Thoreau, who had contracted tuberculosis in 1835 died at 44 years of age, after three years of declining health suffering the effects of bronchitis. As his health failed, he became bedridden, editing his unpublished manuscripts, writing letters and journal entries and impressing his friends with his tranquility and peace of his eminent passing.

He apparently said to his Aunt Louise, in response to her question as to whether he had made peace with God: "I did not know that we had ever quarreled."  His last written sentence was: "Now comes good sailing."



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