Thoreau’s reflections on Walden Pond
On this date in 1847 Henry David Thoreau left Walden Pond and moved into Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s home in Concord, Massachusetts.
Frye on Thoreau in “Varieties of Literary Utopias” in The Stubborn Structure:
Man obviously needs far less to live the best life than he thinks he needs; and civilization as we know it is grounded on the technique of complicating wants. In fact, this technique is widely believed, in America, to be the American way of life par excellence. Thoreau says: “The only true America is the country were you are at liberty to pursue such a mode of life as may enable you to do without these, and where the state may not endeavor to compel you to sustain the slavery, and war, and other superfluous expenses which directly or indirectly contribute to such things.” The pastoral revolutionary tradition is still at work in this remark, still pointing to the natural and reasonable society buried beneath the false one. (132)