An Asocial Philosophy of Life.- Translated by Tul'si Bhambry and Agnieszka Waśkiewicz. Editorial work by Tul'si Bhambry.
Chapter 3. Somewhere between Nature and People
Somewhere between Nature and People
Thoreau and his legend
The following two chapters are structured differently than the preceding ones, as they deal with concrete individuals – Henry David Thoreau and Richard Feynman. These two men’s lives diverge from the patterns discussed above, but they are nevertheless characterized by the strangeness that forms the key theme of this book. Thoreau’s biography is no less fascinating than his work. And since his life and writing appear to be inseparable, it is plausible that he would have approved of my reading of his work as a literary testimony of sorts.1
In the popular imagination Thoreau’s life stands out among other literary figures. The biographer and scholar Walter Harding points to the myth of Thoreau spending half his life in prison and the other half in the solitude of the woods.2 In reality, Thoreau’s life was neither as stormy nor as extraordinary as the lives of other American literary icons. The author of Civil Disobedience spent only one night in prison, while his cabin on Walden Pond in Massachusetts, where he lived for exactly two years, two months and two days in the 45 years of his life, is situated a mere one and a half miles from the town, which Thoreau visited almost every day. Contrary to popular belief, therefore, he lived among other people.
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