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Thoreau combined the lectures, separated them inand worked them together again for publication inas he was dying. The manuscript that Thoreau prepared for the publisher has been held by the Concord Free Public Library since It appeared in the version Civil disobedience and other essays sparknotes Excursions reorganized for and printed as the ninth volume of the Riverside Edition, and in the fifth volume Excursions and Poems of the Walden and Manuscript Editions.
It has been printed in a number of selected editions, among them: The Major Essays, edited by Jeffrey L. Thoreau declares in the first sentence of "Walking": I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil, — to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society.
The entire essay is an expansion upon the ideas expressed in this opening sentence. Thoreau explores the etymology of the word "saunter," which he believes may come from the French "Sainte-Terre" Holy Land or from the French "sans terre" without land.
Either derivation applies to walking as he knows it, but he prefers the former. True walking is not directionless wandering about the countryside, nor is it physical exercise.
It is a crusade "to go forth and reconquer this Holy Land from the hands of the Infidels. Walking leads naturally to the fields and woods, and away from the village — scene of much busy coming and going, accessed by established roads, which Thoreau avoids.
He suggests the degeneracy of the village by exploring the etymology of the word "village," connecting it to the Latin words for "road" and for "vile. He refers to the new perspective that even a familiar walk can provide. He deplores man's attempts to bound the landscape with fences and stakes, placed by the "Prince of Darkness" as surveyor.
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|Civil Disobedience, and Other Essays Summary & Study Guide||The first essay in the book, entitled "Civil Disobedience" is a call by Thoreau for people to take responsibility for the actions of the government their taxes support. He is writing specifically about the government of Massachusetts, which while outlawing slavery had recently allowed for the return of escaped slaves to their owners in the South.|
He contrasts the hurried walking undertaken in conducting the business of life with that made "out into a Nature such as the old prophets and poets, Menu, Moses, Homer, Chaucer, walked in" — a kind of exploration very different from that of Vespucci or Columbus. Thoreau's walking explores a territory better expressed by mythology than history.
He conveys some urgency to walk by stating that, although the landscape is not owned at present, he foresees a time when property ownership may prevail over it. Thoreau refers to the difficulty of choosing the direction of a walk, asserting that there is a "right way" but that we often choose the wrong.
The walk we should take "is perfectly symbolical of the path which we love to travel in the interior and ideal world" — a path difficult to determine because it does not yet "exist distinctly in our idea.
The east leads to the past — the history, art, and literature of the Old World; the west to the forest and to the future, to enterprise and the adventure of the New World. As a nation, we tend toward the west, and the particular in the form of the individual reflects the general tendency.
Thoreau believes that physical environment inspires man and that the vast, untamed grandeur of the American wilderness is "symbolical of the height to which the philosophy and poetry and religion of [America's] inhabitants may one day soar. America, whose landscape has not yet been completely civilized, suggests "more of the future than of the past or present.
He writes of the wildness of primitive people, of his own yearning for "wild lands where no settler has squatted," and of his hope that each man may be "a part and parcel of Nature" the phrase repeated from the beginning of the essayexuding sensory evidence of his connection with her.
He equates wildness with life and strength. He himself prefers the wild vigor of the swamp, a place where one can "recreate" oneself, to the cultivated garden. The wild confers health on both the individual and society. Thoreau perceives agriculture as an occupation that makes the farmer stronger and more natural, and the wild and free in literature as that which most appeals to the reader.
Genius is an uncivilized force, like lightning, not a "taper lighted at the hearthstone of the race. Although no literature has yet adequately done so, mythology is more satisfactory.
The west — the American continent — "is preparing to add its fables to those of the East," and there will be an American mythology to inspire poets everywhere. Thoreau finds truth in "the wildest dreams of wild men," even though these truths defy common sense. He is drawn to "wild fancies, which transcend the order of time and development.
He rejoices that civilized men, like domestic animals, retain some measure of their innate wildness. Some men possess it to a greater degree than others.
All men can fulfill low purposes. Only some — those who are not as suited to civilization as others — can fulfill higher purposes and should not be tamed.
Whether or not we acknowledge it, there is a savage in all of us, even the most civilized, and that primal nature will show itself in impassioned or inspired moments. Civilization pulls us from nature — "this vast, savage, howling mother of ours" — and allows only social relations, "interaction man on man.
Not every man should be cultivated, nor every part of one man. Thoreau writes that "the greater part will be meadow and forest, not only serving an immediate use, but preparing a mould against a distant future, by the annual decay of the vegetation which it supports.
Thoreau undercuts the notion of "Useful Knowledge," which may preclude higher understanding, preferring instead "Useful Ignorance" or "Beautiful Knowledge. Thoreau writes that in his own relationship with nature he lives "a sort of border life, on the confines of a world into which I make occasional and transient forays only.Thoreau's essay "Walking" grew out of journal entries developed in into two lectures, "Walking" and "The Wild," which were delivered in and , and again in and Thoreau's essay "Walking" grew out of journal entries developed in into two lectures, "Walking" and "The Wild," which were delivered in and , and again in and Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" Summary and Analysis Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List The lecture was published under the title "Resistance to Civil Government" in Elizabeth Peabody's Aesthetic Papers, in May ENG 5 November Henry Thoreau & Civil Disobedience Henry Thoreau wrote an essay “Civil Disobedience” (Resistance to Civil Government) which was first published in David Henry Thoreau (July 12, – May 6, ) was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, sage writer and philosopher.
"Civil Obedience and Other Essays" contains five of Thoreau's most frequently published essays outlining his unique principles on the role of man in society and his proper relationship to his government, his fellow man, and to nature.
The first essay in the book, entitled "Civil Disobedience" is a. Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience) is an essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice.