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October 03, 2005

He's genius!

Thoreau, Walden (1854; selections) -- American Literature, 1800-1915 (EL 266)

"Follow your genius closely enough, and it will not fail to show you a fresh prospect every hour."
I found it interesting how Thoreau mentions that reading books should not be the only way we should learn. I think this quote signifies that he wants to use his own knowledge to discover the world around him and think for himself without the distractions of society. He uses was he sees and hears as learning experiences away from books. Books seem like they hinder him from truly learning acccording to his natural-born genius.

Posted by AshleyHoltzer at October 3, 2005 08:10 PM


Ashley, I couldn't agree more. You defintely nailed the main focus of Thoreau. Thoreau was about knowledge and discovery to figure out major ideas to life. He tried to fight idealism, but the idealistic world (seclusion) helped him get his best ideas. Not to mention that Thoreau was more brilliant than most have estimated. I think that his views on politics, nature, society, and so much more really made someone 150 years later relate to what he was thinking. Nice observation Ashley.

Posted by: Jason Pugh at October 3, 2005 10:02 PM

yes he is a genius!! He is the kind a person I would love to have a talk with. Someone so full of life and wonder.
Interesting that you said you think books hindered him from learning. I never really thought about that aspect of it. Hummm i guess you are right....he doesn't seem like the kind of guy that would be sitting in a study reading books and if he did have books there subject would be nature or religion. But then on the other hand he does seem pretty learned. Maybe he did read a lot. What do you think?

Posted by: michelle koss at October 4, 2005 11:14 PM

This is the first time I have read anything by Thoreau, Dr.Jerz warned in class that it may read a little slow- I personally couldn't get enough. His language really brought out everything thats wonderful in nature. The special things that mankind has nothing to do with. I'm sure Thoreau was very well read for his time, but I think your right in that many of the things he grasped in nature couldn't be found in books- at least when he was around. Once he wrote of these subjects things were different- he had the ability to put nature in words, at least better than anyone else I have ever read.

Posted by: Quinn Kerno at October 5, 2005 03:40 PM

Michelle- Thats a good question. I think maybe he did read a lot prior to this experience in the woods. I think secluding himself in the woods was like a different kind of learning experience for him, which added to his book intelligence. There is a kind of knowledge to be discovered in the woods, whereas books just feed it to you.

Posted by: Ashley Holtzer at October 5, 2005 05:56 PM

Yes, Quinn, I do think he put nature into words very clearly. He describes a complicated part of what we live in by painting a vivid picture. I loved the way he described the setting where he was living and I, too, really enjoyed reading Thoreau more than the other authors thus far.

Posted by: Ashley Holtzer at October 5, 2005 05:58 PM

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