Thoreau’s real masterpiece is not Walden but the 2-million-word journal that he kept until six months before he died. Its continuing relevance lies in the vivid spectacle of a man wrestling with tensions that still confound us. The journal illustrates his almost daily balancing act between recording scrupulous observations of nature and expressing sheer joy at the beauty of it all. Romantic predecessors like Samuel Taylor Coleridge and, centuries before that, polymaths like Leonardo da Vinci thrived on the interplay between subjective and objective exploration of the world. For Leonardo, engineering and math infused painting and sculpture; Coleridge said that he attended chemistry lectures to enlarge his “stock of metaphors.”It would be more correct to say that Walden is not his only masterpiece.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
… What’s Inside Henry Thoreau’s Journal - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)