Top Thoreau Quotes

Browse top 38 famous quotes and sayings about Thoreau by most favorite authors.

Favorite Thoreau Quotes

1. "...part of trying to attract those poet-men was to look a little like I had wandered onto campus by accident after having spent ten years with the wolves behind some farmhouse, living off scraps and reveling in the pure air like a half–girl Mowgli, half–woman Thoreau."
Author: Aimee Bender
2. "There is an of-quoted passage in Walden, in which Thoreau exhorts us to find our pole star and to follow it unwaveringly as would a sailor or a fugitive slave. It's a thrilling sentiment - one so obviously worthy of our aspirations. But even if you had the discipline to maintain the true course, the real problem, it has always seemed to me, is how to know in which part of the heavens your star resides"
Author: Amor Towles
3. "Thoreau was an idiot."
Author: Bill Bryson
4. "...This is the arena in which a spiritualized disobedience means most. It doesn't mean a second New Deal, another massive bureaucratic attack on our problems. It doesn't mean taking to the streets, throwing bricks through the window at the Bank of America, or driving a tractor through the local McDonald's. It means living differently. It means taking responsibility for the character of the human world. That's a real confrontation with the problem of value. In short, refusal of the present is a return to what Thoreau and Ruskin called "human fundamentals, valuable things," and it is a movement into the future. This movement into the future is also a powerful expression of that most human spiritual emotion, Hope.p.124"
Author: Curtis White
5. "I'd come to the country to do my Thoreau bit, so I needed an office that looked out onto the woods for inspiration. I converted one of the bedrooms into my workspace and through its windows watched the wildlife appear each morning with the sunrise. Many were the days I would sit in wonder, coffee in hand, for hours."
Author: David Mixner
6. "Vonnegut is one of America's basic artists, a true and worthy heir to the grand tradition of Thoreau, Whitman, Twain, Dreiser, Traven, Tom Wolfe (the real Tom Wolfe, I mean) and Steinbeck. In other words, he writes out of a concern for justice, love, honesty, and hope."
Author: Edward Abbey
7. "...writers like Jack Kerouac (who called himself an "urban Thoreau") set forth to redefine and rediscover ways to live in America without slogging through what Kerouac called the endless system of "work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume..."
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
8. "Thoreau has been my companion for some days past, it having struck me asmore appropriate to bring him out to a pond than to read him, as washitherto my habit, on Sunday mornings in the garden. He is a person wholoves the open air, and will refuse to give you much pleasure if you tryto read him amid the pomp and circumstance of upholstery; but out in thesun, and especially by this pond, he is delightful, and we spend thehappiest hours together, he making statements, and I either agreeingheartily, or just laughing and reserving my opinion till I shall havemore ripely considered the thing."
Author: Elizabeth Von Arnim
9. "When you're reading Thoreau you look at Hollywood differently, let me tell ya!"
Author: Emile Hirsch
10. "Insotit de Matilde si Jorge, care avea patru ani, m-am dus sa traiesc in muntii din Cordoba, la o ferma fara apa curenta si curent electric, in localitatea Pantanillo. Sub maiestuosul cer instelat, m-am simtit impacat. Ceva asemanator cu ceea ce spune Henry David Thoreau: "M-am dus in padure pentru ca voiam sa traiesc in meditatie, sa infrunt doar faptele esentiale ale vietii, sa vad daca puteam trai si sa invat ceea ce era de invatat; ca nu cumva sa descopar, apropiindu-ma de moarte, ca nu traisem cu adevarat"."
Author: Ernesto Sabato
11. "Kessler depicts his developing intimacy with a handful of dairy goats and offers an enviable glimpse of the pastoral good life. Yet he also cautions, "Wherever the notion of paradise exists, so does the idea that it was lost. Paradise is always in the past." The title Goat Song is a literal rendering of the Greek word traghoudhia, tragedy. Reading it, I was reminded of Leo Marx's analysis of Thoreau's Walden. In The Machine in the Garden, Marx names Thoreau a tragic, if complex pastoralist. After failing to make an agrarian living raising beans for commercial trade (although his intent was always more allegorical than pecuniary), Thoreau ends Walden by replacing the pastoral idea where it originated: in literature. Paradise, Marx concludes, is not ultimately to be found at Walden Pond; it is to be found in the pages of Walden."
Author: Heather Paxson
12. "In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime. But all these times and places and occasions are now and here. God himself culminates in the present moment, and will never be more divine in the lapse of all the ages. THOREAU,"
Author: Jon Kabat Zinn
13. "I'm going to paraphrase Thoreau here... rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness... give me truth."
Author: Jon Krakauer
14. "I wouldn't know where to start.""He who chooses the beginning of the road chooses the place it leads to." "Thoreau?""Harry Emerson Fosdick..."
Author: Kami Garcia
15. "Any life he'd ever heard of, his own included, was burdened with emotions - love, loss, jobs, jealousy, money, death, pain. But if you were jewish, always there was this extra one, the added pull at your endurance, the one more thing. There was that line in Thoreau about "quiet desperation" - that was indeed true of most men. But for some men and women, for some fathers and mothers and children, the world still contrived that one extra test, endless and unrelenting."
Author: Laura Z. Hobson
16. "...the values ascribed to the Indian will depend on what the white writer feels about Nature, and America has always had mixed feelings about that. At one end of the spectrum is Thoreau, wishing to immerse himself in swamps for the positive vibrations; at the other end is Benjamin Franklin, who didn't like Nature. [p.91]"
Author: Margaret Atwood
17. "If I knew for certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life … for fear that I should get some of his good done to me. —Henry David Thoreau"
Author: Margaret J. Wheatley
18. "Never look back unless you are planning to go that way." Thoreau "If I don't look back, I can't find a different way forward." Odette"
Author: Marie Clair
19. "I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear." ThoreauMarriage, bearing children, divorce, single parenting, work: all had confronted me with certain essential facts of life. I wasn't even unhappy. The fact is, living (somewhat) consciously, like eating wonderful food, had given me more rather than less of an appetite. I had found living so dear that I wanted to do it full time."
Author: Mary Rose O'Reilley
20. "In saying no one knew about the ideas implicit in the telegraph, I am not quite accurate. Thoreau knew. Or so one may surmise. It is alleged that upon being told that through the telegraph a man in Maine could instantly send a message to a man in Texas, Thoreau asked, "But what do they have to say to each other?" In asking this question, to which no serious interest was paid, Thoreau was directing attention to the psychological and social meaning of the telegraph, and in particular to its capacity to change the character of information -- from the personal and regional to the impersonal and global."
Author: Neil Postman
21. "Whenever I read anything by Henry David Thoreau I honestly feel as though he's with me. No. More like I am with him."
Author: Nicholas Trandahl
22. "Give me a bottle of hard cider, a bowl of Peterson Irish Oak in my Neerup pipe, and please, above all, give my Henry David Thoreau's Wild Apples. Do that and you will see a man contented."
Author: Nicholas Trandahl
23. "Thoreau's writings feel more alive to me than any thing that I've ever read. When I read anything by Thoreau, I see his subject. I feel it. I taste it. I smell it. I feel as though he's walking beside me, showing me with gestures and soft-spoken words the marvelous natural wonders that he's written about."
Author: Nicholas Trandahl
24. "Henry David Thoreau is my favorite writer of all time, my literary god king, and his essay Wild Apples is my favorite thing to read."
Author: Nicholas Trandahl
25. "In high school, I went to a place called the Mountain School. It's on a farm in Vermont, and I read Emerson and Thoreau and ran around the woods. Now I go hiking with a bunch of my comedy buddies. We talk about our emotions. I also do a lot of writing on hikes, just to get the blood flowing and the ideas moving."
Author: Nick Kroll
26. "Solitary. But not in the sense of being alone. Not solitary in the way Thoreau was, for example, exiling himself in order to find out where he was; not solitary in the way Jonah was, praying for deliverance in the belly of the whale. Solitary in the sense of retreat. In the sense of not having to see himself, of not having to see himself being seen by anyone else."
Author: Paul Auster
27. "Somehow I had learned from Thoreau, who doubtless learned it from Confucius, that if a man comes to do his own good for you, then must you flee that man and save yourself"
Author: Pearl S. Buck
28. "Ultimately, I found my instincts mirrored in a line from Thoreau: 'My needle...always settles between west and south-southwest. The future lies that way to me, and the earth seems more exhausted and richer on that side."
Author: Phillip Connors
29. "We have more and more ways to communicate, as Thoreau noted, but less and less to say."
Author: Pico Iyer
30. "As Thoreau famously sead, it doesn't matter where or how far you go - the farther commonly the worse - the important thing is how alive you are. Writing of every kind is a way to wake oneself up and keep as alive as when one has just fallen in love."
Author: Pico Iyer
31. "As I wandered around the room, with Sachiko by my side, I began to think how much we need space in those we love, space enough to accommodate growth and possibility. Knowledge must leave room for mystery; intimacy, taken too far, was the death of imagination. Keeping some little distance from her was, I thought, a way of keeping an open space, a silence for the imagination to fill."At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things," Thoreau had written, "we require that all things be mysterious and unexplainable."
Author: Pico Iyer
32. "They are all beasts of burden in a sense, ' Thoreau once remarked of animals, 'made to carry some portion of our thoughts.' Animals are the old language of the imagination; one of the ten thousand tragedies of their disappearance would be a silencing of this speech."
Author: Rebecca Solnit
33. "[Thoreau's] famous night in jail took place about halfway through his stay in the cabin on Emerson's woodlot at Walden Pond. His two-year stint in the small cabin he built himself is often portrayed as a monastic retreat from the world of human affairs into the world of nautre, though he went back to town to eat with and talk to friends and family and to pick up money doing odd jobs that didn't fit into Walden's narrative. He went to jail both because the town jailer ran into him while he was getting his shoe mended and because he felt passionately enough about national affairs to refuse to pay his tax. To be in the woods was not to be out of society or politics."
Author: Rebecca Solnit
34. "I try to be honorable. I know that's embarrassing to hear. It's embarrassing to say. But I believe most of the nonsense that Thoreau was preaching. And I have spent a long time working on getting myself to where I could do it. Where I could live life largely on my own terms."
Author: Robert B. Parker
35. "There is no companion so companionable as Solitude," Thoreau reminds me as I carry a hot cup of tea back to bed."
Author: Sarah Ban Breathnach
36. "When Thoreau considered "where I live and what I live for," he tied together location and values. Where we live doesn't just change how we live; it informs who we become. Most recently, technology promises us lives on the screen. What values, Thoreau would ask, follow from this new location? Immersed in simulation, where do we live, and what do we live for?"
Author: Sherry Turkle
37. "I like the story about Henry David Thoreau, who, when he was on his death bed, his family sent for a minister. The minister said, 'Henry, have you made your peace with God?' Thoreau said, 'I didn't know we'd quarreled.'"
Author: Stewart Udall
38. "I don't think it is enough appreciated how much an outdoor book the Bible is. It is a "hypaethral book," such as Thoreau talked about - a book open to the sky. It is best read and understood outdoors, and the farther outdoors the better. Or that has been my experience of it. Passages that within walls seem improbable or incredible, outdoors seem merely natural. This is because outdoors we are confronted everywhere with wonders; we see that the miraculous is not extraordinary but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread."
Author: Wendell Berry

Thoreau Quotes Pictures

Quotes About Thoreau
Quotes About Thoreau
Quotes About Thoreau

Today's Quote

Leigh," Andrew said, and i heard it again, that note in his voice that said please don't cause a scene, and not I'm sorry I hurt you."
Author: Alicia Thompson

Famous Authors

Popular Topics