Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Henry moves in with Waldo and his family in 1847


First there is this from The History Channel: 

On this day in 1847, writer Henry David Thoreau moves in with Ralph Waldo Emerson and his family in Concord, Massachusetts, after living for two years in a shack he built himself on Walden Pond. Thoreau graduated from Harvard and started a school with his brother. But in 1839, he decided while on a canoe trip that he wasn’t cut out for teaching. Instead, he decided to devote himself to nature and poetry. Deeply influenced by his friend Emerson’s poetry and essays, Thoreau started a journal and began publishing essays in the Transcendentalist journal The Dial. At age 25, Thoreau left Concord for New York, but detested city life and returned after a year. Two years later, at age 27, he decided to live by Transcendentalist principles, spending time alone with nature and supporting himself with his own work. He built his home and lived off his garden for two years while reading and writing. In 1854, his collection of essays, Walden, or Life in the Woods, was published. During his time at Walden, Thoreau spent a brief time in jail for refusing to pay taxes to support the war with Mexico. He later wrote Civil Disobedience, one of his most famous essays, based on the experience. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would later be inspired by his writings. After Thoreau’s time at Walden, he wrote magazine articles and became an avid abolitionist, working to smuggle escaped slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. He died in 1862.


And there is this personal postscript:

Concord, Massachusetts, in the mid-19th century was a special place populated by some singular people. Thoreau might have been the most unique. 

As for myself, if time travel were possible, I would have liked living in that community with neighbors like Emerson and Thoreau and (for a while) Hawthorne. And I confess, which would horrify my fundamentalist parents, some aspects of Transcendentalism appeal to me. 

Well, what about you? If you could time travel, what time and place appeals to you?





12 comments:

  1. Having just had my life saved by modern medicine, I stick with the times I'm living in, appalling though they in many ways.

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    1. Well, that's a very good point, Frank, and I hope you are getting back to 100%. Modern medicine beats the hell out of leeches, bleeding, and loading up with laudanum. I admit that I'm still alive because of science. Still,there's something in my DNA that yearns for Walden and Concord.

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  2. When? the future of course. Say, 2100 AD or its PC equivalent 2100 CE

    Where? Since we aren't going to do anything about global warming until it's too late, northern Canada, of course.

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    1. Fred, enjoy the Arctic Circle. I lived for a time in Iceland, and I prefer warmer neighborhoods. Concord would have been cold enough. As for climate change, I think climate always changes; a pendulum is the metaphor I would apply. However, I argue with no one about the weather. And today I'm more concerned about Irma than such arguments.

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    2. R.T.--true, weather does cycle and right now, it's cycling upwards and I don't think it's going to cycle down for a long, long time.

      I can understand that Irma right now is a more immediate problem than global warming. Are you going to evacuate?

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    3. No evacuation yet planned here in lower Alabama. The storm season is long from over, so I simply wait and watch.

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    4. R.T.--that's good news. I hope the rest of the storm season is quiet.

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    5. Thanks, Fred, but I ain't counting those unhatched chickens!

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    6. This season is shaping up to be like the 2004-2005 one that gave us Ivan and Katrina, seems like! (Complete with the gas prices if that pipeline stays closed and the Gulf refineries get hit...)

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    7. The eye of Ivan passed over my neighborhood, and I did not enjoy the visit. The aftermath was also unpleasant. I'd move away from the coast, but my wife vetoes my plan. Such is life when married to a native of Biloxi.

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  3. aside from the medical aspects, i, too, am curious about Thoreau and Emerson and Channing and Margaret... and very curious re T's pencil factory... (i love small mechanical stuff like that...)

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  4. Mudpuddle, yes, I too am fascinated by Thoreau's pencil making (perhaps even more than his Walden adventures). Isn't it strange that we take for granted such things as pencils, and rarely do we stop to think: who first came up with the idea to make one of those things, and how on earth was it done! There is a TV series that was (might still be) on one of the satellite channels: How Things Are Made. Great stuff!

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