"In Wildness is the preservation of the World."
"The library is the wilderness of books."

To Live Deliberately: Thoreau’s Complicated Notion of Nature

West Dennis Library~ Saturday, October 14th at 2:00


photograph of Michael Thurston
The Dennis and Yarmouth Town Libraries have joined together to bring a presentation to celebrate the 200th birthday of Henry David Thoreau. 

Henry David Thoreau is often seen as a naturalist and an early advocate for wilderness. In his essay “Walking,” he said, “In Wildness is the preservation of the world." Over the years many people used his words to justify the preservation of wild spaces. Thoreau also confessed a wildness within himself saying, “I grow savager and savager every day.” Although he yearned for “the uninhabited,” the “unexplored wilderness,” his most powerful writings often evoke a less chaotic Nature created by interaction with humans. How did Thoreau unite those views within himself? Dr. Michael Thurston explores some literary ways Thoreau develops his complex understanding of nature and its value to society, not only as the source of “tonics and barks which brace mankind,” but also as a beneficiary of human attention. 

Dr. Michael Thurston is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor and Chair of the Department of English at Smith College, North Hampton, MA. He has published several books and numerous essays on modern poetry and American literature and is currently at work on a series of essays that follow Thoreau in his walks along the Cape.