Thoreau, Henry David

caption Henry David Thoreau. (Source: Virginia Commonwealth University)

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was a complex man of many talents who worked hard to shape his craft and his life, seeing little difference between them. One of his first memories was of staying awake at night "looking through the stars to see if [he] could see God behind them." One might say he never stopped looking into nature for ultimate Truth.

Thoreau attended Harvard University and worked for several years as a surveyor and making pencils with his father. In 1845, at the age of 28, he decided to write his first book. He built a cabin on Walden Pond, where he began to write. While at Walden, Thoreau did an incredible amount of reading and writing, yet he also spent much time "sauntering" in nature.

After 26 months, Thoreau returned to Concord, Massachusetts having completed his experiment in living and his book. Unfortunately, few people were interested in purchasing his book, so he spent the next nine years surveying and making pencils at times, but primarily writing and rewriting Walden before trying to publish it. He supported himself by surveying and making a few lectures, often on his experience at Walden Pond.

Thoreau died of tuberculosis in 1862, at the age of 44. His last words were said to be "Moose" and "Indian." Thoreau authored two books, numerous essays, and a copious journal, published later in 20 volumes.

Further Reading



Chitale, R. (2007). Thoreau, Henry David. Retrieved from


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