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Post Re: Walden
lawrenceindestin wrote:
Thomas, you're worse than a Baptist quoting only that part of the Bible that makes his point.


Whoa, Lawrence. I've been trying to get away from the Baptist since I was seventeen. Is it that obvious? But isn't this desperation (1.9) from a false conception of ourselves -- a false subordination to external interests? Along with other forms of servitude Thoreau does consider the teamster in 1.8, but this is followed by an apparently pro commerce observation in 1.10: "Old people did not know enough once, perchance, to fetch fresh fuel to keep the fire a-going; new people put a little dry wood under a pot, and are whirled round the globe with the speed of birds, in a way to kill old people, as the phrase is."

Tom



Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:57 pm
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DWill wrote:
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Tom, is there a better way to do it than on your own?


Will, I didn't do so good on my own. I read Walden in high school, in college, and again after college, and -- for example -- I did not catch a single pun, not even the obvious Coenobites pun. About four years ago I was looking for applications of Chinese metaphysics in American Transcendentalism, and lo and behold (Baptists talk like that :) ) the eighteen chapters of Walden parallel the first eighteen hexagrams of King Wen's sequence. There are also textual allusions, but I have yet to prove that Thoreau held a copy of the I Ching in his hands. I'm working on it. Anyway, my apparent discovery renewed my interest in Walden, and I began to see the depth I had originally missed, thanks in part to the Yahoo Waldenlist group.

Tom



Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:29 pm
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Post I Ching
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I was looking for applications of Chinese metaphysics in American Transcendentalism, and lo and behold (Baptists talk like that ) the eighteen chapters of Walden parallel the first eighteen hexagrams of King Wen's sequence


Ho boy! Here I am looking at a goofy Yankee and you are going to examine all three trillion cells. This is going to be a ride.



Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:16 am
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Post Walden
Well Thomas, I've been thinking and it occurs to me Walden may be your new bible and Henry David a guru. In respect of that possibility I will no longer poke fun at your citations and make every effort to learn from your observation. Like a wise man once told me "Your citations are valuable. You have explored avenues of life that I have never been down, and it is a help to me to know what you have found worthwhile and lacking."

That being said I think it will be useful for you to get my "take" on HDT and Walden. I see an ordinary 30 year old New England shiftless loafer living off of his (mother and sisters or Aunt and cousins? Which is it Thomas?) Can you just imagine the dinner table talk for 7 years? "Did you find work today Henry David? Well did you even look? You know you're not going to put you feet under my table forever without contributing something. I work my fingers to the bone trying to keep body and soul together and make ends meet ....Yatata yatata yatata." Hell it's no wonder he went to Walden to get some peace and quiet. He loved the peace (give us the citation Thomas hereinafter "qcv." It's no mystery to me why he liked solitude. (qcv Thomas).

I've camped out in the pines of Canada on their clear lakes. I've spent the night under the stars on a Kansas prairie and in the deserts of Saudi Arabia. It is spectacularly beautiful. I was alone and I thought. I was alone and I looked and saw. I saw a beautiful maidenhair fern unfurling its leaves. I saw beautiful delicate wild flows sprouting in craggy folds being visited by colorful butterflies. Then I saw an ant carrying some critter home for dinner. I watched a blue jay snatch a worm and a hawk grab a turtle dove out of the sky leaving a cloud of feathers. Then I saw a snake eat a mouse. Then I thought.

How can such incredible violence exist within such incredible beauty? And that is what HDT did. He found solitude. He looked and saw beauty. And he thought. In his thinking the awareness of his tranquility and the pleasant tactile personal experience delineated where he was from the coarseness of his neighbors in Concord living a life of commerce and strife (to which he already had a natural aversion). (qcv Thomas)

Then he wrote. He wrote about what he saw, what he thought and what he came to believe about the meaning of it all.

Well Thaaaaaaat's all folks



Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:09 am
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Post DWill
Hi DWill! Here is the exact quote from page 66 of my text. (Thomas qcv)
Quote:
But I have since learned that trade curses everything it handles; and though you trade in messages from heaven, the whole curse of trade attaches to the business.



Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:21 am
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Post Walden
Thomas Hood, did you sand bag Chris to get him to chose Walden.
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and you will be immortalized in the Journal of the Thoreau Society

I never knew there was a Thoreau Society. So much to learn so little time.



Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:44 am
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Post Re: Walden
lawrenceindestin wrote:
I see an ordinary 30 year old New England shiftless loafer living off of his (mother and sisters or Aunt and cousins? Which is it Thomas?)


None of the above. Not a bum and not ordinary. The Thoreau family home was a boarding house, and Henry paid room and board like other residents. Rather than being a bum, he enriched the family. He invented a machine that refined graphite powder. For a limited time, the relatively poor Thoreaus had a monopoly on refined graphite powder, needed in electrotyping, and they lived well. Sophia wore crinolines.

The graphite business as well as the pencil business was conducted in secret. After his father's death, Thoreau opperated the business, including purchase of raw graphite, contract grinding, refining, filling orders and shipping. Thoreau researched and developed tools and methods for making pencils, and visitors who might have disclosed these trade secrets were not allowed access to the so-called "pencil factory," a shed on the back of the boarding house.

The Thoreaus were secretive about everything, and Henry followed the family tradition. The play of concealment and disclosure is (IMO) the reason for the extraordinary power of Walden. It is difficult to convey how odd and exceptional the Thoreaus were:

Except for Henry's father, none of the Thoreaus married.

Henry was a practicing nudist.

Henry had a collection of homoerotic literature.

Thanks to an English admirer, at the time of his death Henry had the largest collection of Hindu literature in America.

Henry was remarkably well read in English and Chinese literature. Nearly invisible allusions to this literature texture Walden.

Henry, like his uncle Charles Dunbar, was narcoleptic. At times he would appear cataleptic.

After the death of his brother from lockjaw, Henry psychosomatically developed the symptoms of lockjaw.

Also like his uncle, Henry had extraordinary physical and acrobatic ability. While walking beside a yoke of oxen, Uncle Charlie could change sides by leaping over the oxen. Thoreau could gracefully leaped his mother's dinningroom table. Both could do balancing acts impossible for the average person.

Henry's vegetarian diet (IMO) contributed to his early death from tuberculosis. A low-protein diet worsens tuberculosis.

His excessive dependence on corn may have given him pellagra.

He lost all of his teeth by age 34.

A crucial event during the Walden residence was that Henry was kicked by a horse, IMO permanantly injurying his spleen and causing periods of weakness throughout the rest of his life.

The list is endless, but I'll stop here: Thoreau is the most hated man in America, blamed for the hippies and other excesses of individualism. No literature about Thoreau is to be trusted without inspection, including the biased Wikipedia article.

Tom



Last edited by Thomas Hood on Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Jun 28, 2008 12:27 pm
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Post Re: Walden
lawrenceindestin wrote:
Thomas Hood, did you sand bag Chris to get him to chose Walden.


Not guilty, Lawrence. When Saffron proposed Walden, I said I'd
be there, and that's all I did, except for wishing.

Tom



Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:07 pm
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Post Walden
Thomas, you da man!!!!!! :eek: So much ignorance, so much misinformation. L



Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:39 pm
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I have access to a fully annotated version on my uni website. It will be twice as easy to understand but take twice as long to read. or maybe it will be twice as hard to understand and take twice as long to read - we'll see.



Sun Jun 29, 2008 3:59 pm
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bradams wrote:
I have access to a fully annotated version on my uni website. It will be twice as easy to understand but take twice as long to read. or maybe it will be twice as hard to understand and take twice as long to read - we'll see.


This is Jeffrey Cramer's Walden with its 1642 notes, isn't it? Didn't know it was online. Don't be discouraged, but Jeff didn't get them all. There's room for another 1642.

Tom



Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:01 pm
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Post 
Lawrence and Thomas,
Of course, proof-texting isn't even reasonable for studying the bible. It's not likely to work with HDT, either. Whoever goes about his life's work thinking that he must always say things consistent with what he said before? How awful that would be, not to be able to submit to different moods and inspirations. Remember Emerson on contradiction and foolish consistency!

Thomas, I also read that the fine graphite dust Thoreau was often exposed to contributred to his TB.

I'm wondering if we are going to get going with discussion of themes/topics. Unfortunately, I cannot offer myself as discussion leader. Should we make a list of topics, though, for Chris or somebody to put up on the forum?
DWill



Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:51 am
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DWill wrote:
I also read that the fine graphite dust Thoreau was often exposed to contributred to his TB.


Yes, black lung disease occurs in graphite workers. Thoreau associated dust with death: "When a man dies he kicks the dust" (1.91). At times there was so much graphite dust in the Thoreau home that it covered the piano keys. Sophia apologized to visitors for Henry's undusted room by referring to the dust as the bloom on his furniture: "The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly." "I would rather sit in the open air, for no dust gathers on the grass, unless where man has broken ground."

Quote:
I'm wondering if we are going to get going with discussion of themes/topics. Unfortunately, I cannot offer myself as discussion leader.


I myself am too intense on this subject and would be afraid of running people off. I am going to post on Thoreau's objective (to wake his neighbors up) and Transcendentalism. July 4, when Thoreau began to spend his nights at Walden, seems a good day to start.

Tom



Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:06 pm
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Even if you won't be discussion leader, I'm still very grateful that you'll be part of the discussion. I can tell your input is going to add very much to the understanding and appreciation of Walden for me.

I've already started reading and it seems the author is really trying to emphasize the quiet despair of the average working man in the first chapter, Economy.

Once populations exceed the amount of animal protein available for consumption, this type of self slavery seems to be inevitable. Each man, controlled by bigger men, is prodded to increase production. Their earnings are garnished and they are sometimes left with just enough to continue producing the next day. This life is somewhat of a Promethean hell and its irony is something T relays very well. Instead of working to live - HDT explains that it's how people dig their own graves (when they are born into this type of life). There's a lot more explained than that - such as the character and integrity that people willingly sacrifice in order to maintain their existence. It's a blow to civilization.



Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:57 pm
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Post Test
Hello all,
I think I'm back into a posting mode. I'm sorry to have missed all the fun you folks have had with Thomas Hood and HDT. Let's see if this post makes it to the forum. Best wishes, Lawrence



Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:11 pm
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