Thoreau's Seasons

Thoreau's Seasons

Thoreau's Seasons

Thoreau's Seasons

Excerpt

This book continues essentially where Young Man Thoreau left off. It concentrates primarily on the period from the beginning of Thoreau's Walden experiment in 1845 to his death in 1862. I hope that readers will refer back to Young Man Thoreau for a detailed, in-depth consideration of Thoreau in the pre-Walden years. But while this book is a continuation of --and seeks to maintain continuity with--the previous volume, it has been my aim to make it a self-contained experience for readers and a work that stands on its own as an exploration of Thoreau's life and writings.

Among the purposes of the first chapter are to provide a bridge linking the previous book to this one and to introduce readers to Thoreau's Seasons. In the course of interpreting Thoreau significant first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers--a work that in its evolution spanned the pre-Walden, Walden, and early post-Walden years--as, in part, a "Picture of Human Life" and of Thoreau's life, I have taken the opportunity to review some of the key discoveries of Young Man Thoreau that serve as a foundation for this book; to furnish a preliminary sense of the Walden experience that will be examined intensively in the second chapter; and to give readers a preview and overview of the challenges and crises Thoreau would face in the post-Walden years that will be the focus of subsequent chapters. Moreover, the first chapter seeks to acquaint, or reacquaint, readers with approaches, especially Eriksonian psychology, that were important in Young Man Thoreau and to introduce other viewpoints, particularly on the life cycle and adult development, vital to this book. My intention has been to integrate these perspectives in such ways as to come to, and reflect, my own understanding and envisioning of adult development as well as of Thoreau.

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