Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry amount to more than 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy, in which he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history , two sources of modern-day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close observation of nature, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity , and attention to practical detail. Thoreau was a lifelong abolitionist , delivering lectures that attacked the Fugitive Slave Law while praising the writings of Wendell Phillips and defending the abolitionist John Brown.
Thoreau’s Poetic Shift to Nature Poetry
Henry David Thoreau's Poetry - Words | Internet Public Library
Thoreau began to identify himself as a writer at about the time he graduated from Harvard College in August He changed the order of his given names from David Henry to Henry David, and in October he started a Journal in which he kept entries for twenty-four years, until November Preparation of an edited version of that Journal, which is contained in forty-seven manuscript volumes, is arguably the Thoreau Edition's most significant contribution to Thoreau scholarship. The published Journal will be complete in sixteen volumes: seven are available now see Publications , one is in press, and work is underway on several more. The Online Journal Transcripts provide readers with access to unedited, diplomatic texts of the Journal from September to November At his death in , Thoreau had published two books, fifteen essays, serialized versions of portions of two books that were published posthumously, a few excerpts from Walden that functioned as pre-publication "teasers," and a number of poems, some alone and others within prose works. The Edition has made available authoritative versions of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers and Walden , originally published in and , and The Maine Woods and Cape Cod , the two books that were not published in their entirety until after Thoreau's death.
Thoreau's Message in Walden Essay
He is perhaps best known for his book Walden , a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Civil Disobedience , an argument for an individual's responsibility in determining if their government's position is immoral or unjust. He was a contemporary and close friend of famous poet and writer Ralph Waldo Emerson. Though all the fates should prove unkind, Leave not your native land behind.
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 combined the lectures, separated them in , and worked them together again for publication in , as 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 of 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.