Thoreau, Henry David (1817–1862) - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Thoreau, Henry David(1817–1862)

Henry David Thoreau once described himself as "a mystic, a transcendentalist, and a natural philosopher." If this description does some justice to the extent of Thoreau's eclecticism, it nevertheless obscures those characteristics that made him important during his lifetime and still remain significant today, for Thoreau was an anarchist and revolutionary who created a highly articulate literature of revolt. Born at Concord, Massachusetts, the son of a pencil maker, Thoreau emerged from Harvard in 1837 with testimonials signed by Dr. George Ripley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the president of the university, all of whom attested, in glowing terms, to his moral and intellectual integrity. After a brief skirmish with school teaching, Thoreau became infected with the ideas of the New England transcendentalists, gave up all plans of a regular profession, and devoted himself to literature and the study of nature. His remarkable practical...

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This section contains 1,474 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Thoreau, Henry David (1817–1862) Encyclopedia Article
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Thoreau, Henry David (1817–1862) from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.