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The Political Thought of Henry David ThoreauPrivatism and the Practice of Philosophy$
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Jonathan McKenzie

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813166308

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813166308.001.0001

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Life near the Bone

Life near the Bone

(p.79) 3 Life near the Bone
The Political Thought of Henry David Thoreau

Jonathan McKenzie

University Press of Kentucky

Thoreau’s Walden Pond experience is, at least in part, an individualistic response to the popular communal living experiments of the 1840s in the United States. This chapter examines one key aspect of those experiments—the desire to unify the self—in light of Thoreau’s successes and failures in his own living experiment. This chapter argues that Thoreau’s privatist political theory, which provides the backbone for the Walden sojourn, aids Thoreau in maintaining the goal of providing a sound foundation for a unified experience of selfhood in the changing nineteenth century.

Keywords:   Thoreau, Walden, Brook Farm, Fruitlands, Communalism

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