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Kristen Case “Thoreau’s Vulnerable Resistance” attends to the physical fragilities and emotional grief evinced by Thoreau’s work—traits seldom highlighted in the scholarship. Case reasons that the early canonization of Walden and “Civil Disobedience” first made for the myth of the pioneering, unswerving Thoreau, focusing on his ideals of awakening to higher pursuits in natural settings to the exclusion of all else. Invoking R.W.B. Lewis’ ideas of the “American Adam,” Case refashions and democratizes this patriarchal-colonial ideal in a feminist reading of Thoreau. Offering a different view of the American icon, Case movingly reveals that Horace Mann and Ellery Channing loyally logged natural facts sought by Thoreau while he lay bedridden with his terminal illness. Case uses our understanding of the now disabled and dependent Thoreau to begin reading Walden and “Civil Disobedience” in novel light. What emerges through Case’s revisionist essay is a mature Thoreau imbued by humility and fragility—one perhaps more relevant to our own encounters with loss and crisis.

In: Thoreau in an Age of Crisis
Uses and Abuses of an American Icon
Blick ins Buch
Thoreau in an Age of Crisis reconsiders the relevance of 19th-century American naturalist, philosopher, and social reformer Henry David Thoreau to our troubled present. This new anthology collects the work of fourteen leading scholars from various disciplines. They consider Thoreau’s life and work in light of contemporary concerns regarding racism, climate change, environmental policy, and political strife. They review Thoreau’s trajectory as a scientist and literary artist, as well as his evolving attitudes toward Native American cultures. The essaysists also consider Thoreau’s acoustics, concepts of play, and impact on later writers. Most provocatively, they reveal a vulnerable and empathetic Thoreau, a far cry from the distanced and misanthropic critic often portrayed in popular culture.