Cover image for
Walden, or, A life in the woods
Thoreau, Henry David, 1817-1862.
The 150th anniversary illustrated edition.
Physical Description:
pages cm
Reading Level:
1420 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 8.7 21.0 6000.
Lexile Number:
1420 Lexile.
Added Author:
Added Corporate Author:
Pub Date:
Houghton Mifflin, [2004]



Home Location
Material Type
Shelf Number
Central - Houston Public Library Adult Non-fiction Book 810.9 T39
Johnson - Houston Public Library Adult Non-fiction Book 810.9 T39
Freed-Montrose -- Houston Public Library Adult Non-fiction Book 810.9 T39
Looscan - Houston Public Library Adult Non-fiction Book 810.9 T39
Henington-Alief - Houston Public Library Adult Non-fiction Book 810.9 T39
Heights - Houston Public Library Adult Non-fiction Book 810.9 T39

On Order



Now featuring an Introduction by Don Henley, founder of the Walden Woods Project, this beautiful commemorative edition of Thoreau's masterpiece features spectacular color photographs that capture Walden as vividly as Thoreau's words do.

Henry David Thoreau was just a few days short of his twenty-eighth birthday when he built a cabin on the shore of Walden Pond and began one of the most famous experiments in living in American history. Originally he was not, apparently, intending to write a book about his life at the pond, but nine years later, in August of 1854, Houghton Mifflin's predecessor, Ticknor and Fields, published Walden; or, a Life in the Woods . At the time the book was largely ignored, and it took five years to sell out the first printing of two thousand copies. It was not until 1862, the year of Thoreau's death, that the book was brought back into print, and it has never been out of print since. Published in hundreds of editions and translated into virtually every modern language, it has become one of the most widely read and influential books ever written. Proceeds from the sales of the book will be donated to the Walden Woods Project.

Author Notes

In September 1842, Nathaniel Hawthorne noted this social encounter in his journal: "Mr. Thorow dined with us yesterday. He is a singular character---a young man with much of wild original nature still remaining in him; and so far as he is sophisticated, it is in a way and method of his own. He is as ugly as sin, long-nosed, queer-mouthed, and with uncouth and somewhat rustic, although courteous manners, corresponding very well with such an exterior. But his ugliness is of an honest and agreeable fashion, and becomes him much better than beauty. On the whole, I find him a healthy and wholesome man to know." Most responses to Thoreau are as ambiguously respectful as was Hawthorne's. Thoreau was neither an easy person to like nor an easy writer to read.

Thoreau described himself as a mystic, a Transcendentalist, and a natural philosopher. He is a writer of essays about nature---not of facts about it but of his ideals and emotions in its presence. His wish to understand nature led him to Walden Pond, where he lived from 1845 to 1847 in a cabin that he built. Though he was an educated man with a Harvard degree, fluent in ancient and modern German, he preferred to study nature by living "a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust." Knowing this, we should beware of misreading the book that best reflected this great experience in Thoreau's life: Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854). It is not a handbook of the simple life. Though there are elements in the book of a "whole-earth catalogue" mentality, to focus on the radical "economic" aspects of Thoreau's work is to miss much in the book. Nor is it an autobiography. The right way to read Walden is as a "transcendental" narrative prose poem, whose hero is a man named Henry, a modern Odysseus in search of a "true America."

Thoreau left Walden Pond on September 6, 1846, exactly two years, two months, and two days after he had settled there. As he explained in the pages of Walden: "I left the woods for as good a reason as I went to live there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one." Growth, change, and development were essential to his character. One should not overlook the significance of his selecting July 4 as the day for taking possession of his residence at Walden Pond, a day that celebrates the establishment of a new government whose highest ideal is individual freedom. In terms of Thoreau's redefinition of the nation-idea, "the only true America" is that place where one may grow wild according to one's nature, where one may "enjoy the land, but own it not." Thoreau believed that each person should live according to individual conscience, willing to oppose the majority if necessary. An early proponent of nonviolent resistance, he was jailed briefly for refusing to pay his poll tax to support the Mexican War and the slave system that had promoted that war. His essay "On Civil Disobedience" (1849), which came from this period of passive resistance, was acknowledged by Mahatma Gandhi (who read it in a South African jail) as the basis for his campaign to free India. Martin Luther King, Jr. later attributed to Thoreau and Gandhi the inspiration for his leadership in the civil rights movement in the United States.

Thoreau contracted tuberculosis in 1835 and suffered from it sporadically afterwards. His health declined over three years with brief periods of remission, until he eventually became bedridden. Recognizing the terminal nature of his disease, Thoreau spent his last years revising and editing his unpublished works, particularly The Maine Woods and Excursions, and petitioning publishers to print revised editions of A Week and Walden. He died on May 6, 1862 at age 44.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Andre Gregory re-creates the blinded Lusseyran's courage with engaging skill. Listeners experience Lusseyran's compelling faith in the ultimate goodness of life; there is no hint of sentimentality or facetiousness here. Likewise, the Levines recall how their lives were transformed by love and courage. After being given a poor prognosis for curing her cancer, Ondrea was healed through acupuncture and faith. In this radio interview, the Levines reveal their charming, unabashed intimacy. Woodman carefully details how the untapped feminine resources inside both women and men should be fully developed if we are to make a better world. Michael O'Keefe's reading of Walden has a very matter-of-fact purity to it. Listeners hear Thoreau's choice criticisms of his fellow citizens delivered with editorial-like resolution.--Joseph Keppler

Library Journal Review

Just 150 years ago, Houghton's predecessor, Ticknor & Fields, published a book called Walden by an unknown writer that has since made history. Here is an anniversary edition, which costs just half a cent less than the price Thoreau paid to build his cabin. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA‘An unintended effect of the cultural diversity curriculum is that we lose touch with seminal works such as Walden. Written for an audience thoroughly versed in Western tradition, many of Thoreau's metaphors and references are unrecognizable to today's students. Though some references were intended to prove his erudition, one is chagrined at the number of necessary explications of standard classical concepts. Though some annotations are noisy comments upon Thoreau's life, most are informative and enhance the work. Many YAs will view Thoreau's natural essays as he intended, thanks to Harding's efforts. A must for libraries.‘Hugh McAloon, Prince William County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Walden is a timeless record of one man's inner journey in the great outdoors. In 1845, Henry David Thoreau set out on a personal experiment that was as simple as it was profound. For two years, two months, and two days he would live apart from civilization, both seeking a better way of life and a better understanding of the life he left behind. He built a rudimentary cabin in some woodland owned by his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, and set about living simply and independently. Walden is the record of his time in the woods And The insights he gained while there. A highly readable combination of philosophy, natural history, and autobiography, Walden is widely regarded as one of the classics of American literature. Excerpted from Walden: oder Leben in den Wäldern by Henry David Thoreau All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Edward O. Wilson
Forewordp. vi
Economyp. 1
Where I Lived, and What I Lived Forp. 61
Readingp. 75
Soundsp. 85
Solitudep. 101
Visitorsp. 110
The Bean-Fieldp. 123
The Villagep. 133
The Pondsp. 139
Baker Farmp. 161
Higher Lawsp. 168
Brute Neighborsp. 179
House-Warmingp. 191
Former Inhabitants; and Winter Visitorsp. 205
Winter Animalsp. 217
The Pond in Winterp. 228
Springp. 243
Conclusionp. 259
A Statement from the Walden Woods Projectp. 271
Artist's Statementp. 273
List of Illustrationsp. 275
Then & Nowp. 276

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