Wild Thoughts On the nature of nature writing.

Wild Thoughts On the nature of nature writing.

  • Words Daphnée Denis
  • Photograph Jesse Marble

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately… and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived,” Henry David Thoreau famously wrote in Walden, his account of two years spent in a cabin on the shores of Walden Pond in Massachusetts. His exploration of man’s relationship to the natural world, and his quest for an existence stripped of artifice, is widely considered to be one of the foundational pieces of nature writing—a beloved literary genre where science and introspection meet. Yet his musings also elicit eye rolls. Thoreau barely removed himself from the society he so despised, one argument goes, since he was able to regularly return to his family home to drop off his dirty laundry. One infamous New Yorker essay deemed him “pinched and selfish,” a...

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