Popular quotes: The meaning an history behind "A truly good book teaches me better than to read it..."
"A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it
down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by
- Henry David Thoreau.
Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1817. He began his lifelong habit
of journal keeping while at Harvard. After graduating in 1837 he taught briefly
but resigned to protest the use of corporal punishment on the students,
Shortly after, he and his brother, John Thoreau, opened a private school in
Concord based on Transcendentalism (the popular literary and philosophical
movement that asserted the primacy of the spiritual and transcendental over the
material and empirical, and apparently grew from the desire to create a uniquely
American body of literature and philosophy to mirror the independence that
America had enjoyed politically since 1776).
The school was closed when John fell ill (and later died) and Thoreau moved in
with Ralph Waldo Emerson (one of the founders of Transcendentalism), where he
continued writing his journals.
Although some of his work was published during his lifetime (such as Walden,
Or Life In the Woods (1854) he did not come to be regarded as a major
literary figure until the 20th century. In fact, while alive, he was
barely known outside his immediate circle and most of his writing was not
published until after his death from tuberculosis in 1862.
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