July 12: Henry David Thoreau

On this day in 1817 the author of “Walden; or, Life in the Woods” was born. Celebrate by listening to our free audiobook of this American classic.

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Listen to "Walden" on Lit2Go

Published in 1854, Walden details Thoreau’s life for two years, two months, and two days in a second-growth forest around the shores of Walden Pond, on land owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson, not far from his friends and family in Concord, Massachusetts. Free audiobook and complete text available onLit2Go.

Henry David Thoreau Portrait

Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, sage writer, and philosopher. Illustration from the ClipArt ETC website.

Concord and Boston

Map showing the relationship of Concord (site of Walden) to Boston from the Maps ETC website.

Waldon Pond

Map showing the relationship of Walden and other ponds to the town of Concord from the Maps ETC website.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Portrait

Emerson was an American Poet, essayist, and a leader of Transcendentalist movement in the 19 century. He owned the land where Thoreau stayed for his time at Walden. Illustration from the ClipArt ETC website.

The Blithedale Romance: A Contrasting View of Transcendentalism

For contrast, you may also enjoy listening to The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne. He based this novel on his short-lived stay at a utopian community founded on transcendental principles. Audiobook and text available on the Lit2Go website.