Henry David Thoreau quotes

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Henry David Thoreau

Birthdate: 12. July 1817
Date of death: 6. May 1862
Other names: Henry Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was an American essayist, poet, and philosopher. A leading transcendentalist, he is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay "Civil Disobedience" , an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.

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 Yankee attention to practical detail. He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life's true essential needs.He 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 philosophy of civil disobedience later influenced the political thoughts and actions of such notable figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr.Thoreau is sometimes referred to as an anarchist. Though "Civil Disobedience" seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government—"I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government"—the direction of this improvement contrarily points toward anarchism: "'That government is best which governs not at all;' and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."

Works

Life Without Principle
Life Without Principle
Henry David Thoreau
Civil Disobedience
Henry David Thoreau
Walking
Walking
Henry David Thoreau
Slavery in Massachusetts
Henry David Thoreau
Letters to Various Persons
Letters to Various Persons
Henry David Thoreau

Quotes Henry David Thoreau

„How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.“

—  Henry David Thoreau

August 19, 1851
Journals (1838-1859)
Variant: How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.

„Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.“

—  Henry David Thoreau

A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext03/7cncd10.txt (1849), Wednesday

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„Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.“

—  Henry David Thoreau, Walden ou la vie dans les bois

Walden (1854)
Context: A living dog is better than a dead lion. Shall a man go and hang himself because he belongs to the race of pygmies, and not be the biggest pygmy that he can? Let every one mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made. Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.<!--pp.366-367

„Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.“

—  Henry David Thoreau

Variant: Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.
Source: Walden and Other Writings

„I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours..“

—  Henry David Thoreau

Variant: I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
Source: Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

„The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.“

—  Henry David Thoreau, book Life Without Principle

Life Without Principle (1863)
Context: The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer. I am surprised, as well as delighted, when this happens, it is such a rare use he would make of me, as if he were acquainted with the tool.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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