Den naturliga människan - en undersökning av naturens roll för det mänskliga känslolivet, sett genom Henry David Thoreaus Walden

University essay from Lunds universitet/Avdelningen för idé- och lärdomshistoria

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine how the American nature writer Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) writes about nature, and natures role for the human emotions. The study takes basis in one of the writer’s most famous works – Walden; or, Life in the woods, from 1854, which he wrote after he had been living in a small cottage in the woods around walden pond for over 2 years. In the years before the cottage, Thoreau befriended the famous writer and co-founder of the American transcendentalist movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson. The transcendentalists perceived nature as divine, and meant that every human, to find themselves and live a purposeful life, should address oneself to nature. Thoreau took this thought into action, and went to live in the woods alone. In Walden he describes how nature, and its phenomenons, made him feel. Along with nature, he also reflects on the relationship between human and animals, economy and society, for instance. In this study, I seek to find a connection between the emotional expressions that he uses, and the situation he is in- or describes in his writing.

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