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Online Great Books Podcast

Feb 20, 2020

In the spring of 1845, Henry David Thoreau borrowed an ax, walked into the woods, and started cutting down trees to make a shack to live in. Walden is the result of this endeavor.

Through this process, Thoreau spells out his distinctly American project — simple living with as few compromises as possible. Karl says, “The book is not a guide to your life, the book is a challenge to your life.”

In the woods, Thoreau makes precise, scientific observations of nature, writing his thoughts down in pastoral poetry. He wishes to drive life into a corner, to experience a sense of wonder, but also oneness, with nature.  

When you are feeling uncoupled from your life, how might you come to “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life?”

Tune in to this week's episode to hear more about Thoreau's experiment and what can happen when you pick up an ax.