Sunday, May 6, 2012

Henry David Thoreau died 150 years ago today

Henry David Thoreau
As this commentary points out, Henry David Thoreau died 150 years ago today at the age of 44. We've mentioned Thoreau previously on The Daily Beat (January 1, 2009). That was in regard to autodidacticity and included a reference to an entry in The Beat Handbook which points out that Jack Kerouac was a fan of Thoreau.

I've loved Thoreau since high school. I'm not sure which English teacher (Gill, Stahler, Butler?) introduced me to his writings, but I've always been partial to his theme of nonconformity. And when someone can write an essay that keeps me focused on every word from beginning to end, well . . . .

My copy of Civil Disobedience and Other Essays
Crystal and I visited Thoreau's grave on our way home from Lowell Celebrates Kerouac last year. It's a fairly simple, as one would expect, gravestone and typically has offerings of natural materials (pinecones, stones, etc.) left there by admirers.

Rick Dale at Thoreau's grave 2011 (photo by Crystal Bond)
I don't have anything academically gifted to say, but I happened upon Dolan's commentary and it struck me that Thoreau died at age 44. I guess in 1862 that wasn't so unusual, but I still wonder what he might have accomplished had he kept his health and lived another 20 or 30 years. For one thing, perhaps he would have revisited Maine and written more essays, adding fodder to the essays collected as The Maine Woods.

I won't bore you with yet another rehash of a Thoreau quote. Grab your copy of Walden or Civil Disobedience and remind yourself of Thoreau's genius.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow I have ordered a copy of Walden just a hour and half ago so I can have it anytime I want. then I'm reading the post hmmm