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About the book
  • Published: 1 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781556438837
  • Imprint: North Atlantic
  • Format: Trade Paperback

Thoreau And The Art Of Life


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Featuring nearly 100 luminous watercolor illustrations, Thoreau and the Art of Life collects eloquent passages from the writings of the seminal author and philosopher. Drawn mainly from his journals, the short excerpts provide fascinating insight into his thought processes by presenting his raw, unedited feelings about the things that meant the most to him. The book reflects Thoreau’s deep beliefs and ideas about nature, relationships, creativity, spirituality, aging, simplicity, and wisdom. By eloquently expressing his thoughts about life and what gives it value, he leads the reader to a closer examination of life. Thoreau’s work asks us to live our own truths with joy and discipline and to recognize that we live in a universe of extraordinary beauty, mystery, and wonder.

An avid reader of Thoreau, editor and illustrator Roderick MacIver organized the passages by themes: love and friendship; art, creativity, and writing; aging, disease, and death; human society and culture; nature and the human connection to the natural world; and wisdom, truth, solitude, and simplicity. The book includes a chronology and brief biography. Thoreau’s words of wisdom combined with MacIver’s vivid illustrations of the American landscape will resonate with nature enthusiasts and a broad range of readers interested in art, environmentalism, literature, and philosophy.

“It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful, but it is more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.”
—Henry David Thoreau

  • Pub date: 1 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781556438837
  • Imprint: North Atlantic
  • Format: Trade Paperback

About the Author

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was born in 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts, the town where he would live for most of his life. Along with Ralph Waldo Emerson, he is the most famous of the American Transcendentalists, a group of philosophical thinkers who frequently explored the relationship between human beings and the natural world. He was educated at Harvard, and over the course of his life took on a number of different occupations, including lead-pencil maker, schoolteacher and surveyor.

Thoreau was outspokenly critical of the American government, fervently opposed to slavery, and an advocate of passive resistance. Whilst Walden (1854) is his best-known work, his 1849 essay ‘Civil Disobedience’ has inspired non-violent political activists the world over, including Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr, and his nature writings are considered ground-breaking works in ecology. He died in his hometown of Concord in 1862.

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