David Thoreau 1817
Biographic and bibliographic information,
compiled by Professor Stephen Adams at the University of Minnesota at Duluth.
Jone Johnson's page has links to other
A record of past environments--assembled from an
analysis of frozen core samples (defined) of Walden's sediments--was taken by Marjorie
Winkler, a paleoecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Climatic
Research. Winkler studies lake and pond sediments, and from them she extracts detailed
physical records of changes in environments and climates that extend back hundreds and
sometimes thousands of years.
Part of the EnviroLink Web site, this page links
to a short biography of Thoreau and a selected list of his books and writings.
Frequently asked questions with an email address
where you can send in your own questions.
Essay by Peter Landry
Thoreau was stimulated by the natural things he found in life; he shunned the
artificial. The manufactured collections that most of us work on through our lives are
bogus -- and costly: we sweat, we labour, we toil, we worry: and we rarely ask ourselves
to what purpose? Happily for Thoreau, and for all of us, a ticket to nature is free. For
Thoreau the answer was to live happily and simply. For Thoreau, this could not only be
done inexpensively, but only could be done, indeed, if one lived simply, with few
Table of Contents:
Text from the radio program "Engines of Our
Ingenuity," created by John H. Lienhard, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and
History at the University of Houston. This program on Thoreau's pencil making provides a
good introduction to this little-known side of Thoreau. Lienhard sites Henry Petroski's
article, "H. D. Thoreau, Engineer," that appeared in the American Heritage of
Invention & Technology, Vol. 5, Number 2, pp. 8-16. If you can't find the
article, Petroski's book, The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, is
widely available. For a light-hearted and pun-filled article about Thoreau and pencil
making in Massachusetts see Deborah Bier's "Concord's Sharp
Pencil-Makers Write Themselves into History" at the online The Concord
More Thoughts on Beans
When he mentioned that he was resolved to know beans,
Henry knew it would get a good laugh,
for one thing New Englanders do with their speech
is to sort out the wheat from the chaff.
And so, as he tended bean plants by the pond,
and studied their habits and style,
it never occurred to his dexterous mind
that folks might not notice his smile.
If, when reading Thoreau, you encounter a phrase
that tempts you to find hairs to split,
just remember what Henry himself knew so well:
great philosophy favors great wit.
Amy Belding Brown
Credits: Elizabeth Witherell and Louisa Dennis, University of California, Santa
Barbara Library; Richard Lenat, Thoreau Reader