Thoreau Lecture Series

Date(s) - 10/14/17 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Location: Mooresville Public Library

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Thoreau and the Birds as Autobiography

“Crows will often come flying much out of their way to caw at me.” Journal, November 18, 1857

The study and esthetic appreciation of birds permeates Thoreau’s letters, Journals, essays, and Walden. In some instances, he is enthralled by their song; in others he marvels at their mastery of the sky. At times it is difficult to separate Thoreau’s descriptive notes of bird behavior from that of self-perception. The passages of the merlin in flight and the geese returning in the evening come to mind. Over the years several anthologies of Thoreau’s bird references have been published. Often these works marvel at the poetic approach to his vision. I propose to add the autobiographical component.