Viewing the site of Thoreau’s inspiration, and his works at Houghton Library

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 15:32 in Paleontology & Archaeology

Lawrence Buell was a teenager when he first read “Walden,” Henry David Thoreau’s homage to simple living and the wonders of nature. Buell was 17 and on the edge of manhood, challenging assumptions, questioning authority, and watching with dismay — as Thoreau did in his beloved Concord — as the modern world encroached on his home. “I was a country boy growing up in a place west of Philadelphia that was becoming engulfed by suburbia,” said Buell during a visit to the famous pond and woods where Thoreau lived in a rough cabin for two years in the 1840s and where “Walden” took shape. Standing in a small hillside clearing near the railroad tracks that still hum with trains, with a view through the trees of the famous kettle pond immortalized by the book that bears its name, Buell recalled how Thoreau’s personal narrative, his love of the landscape, and...

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