Walden: Pilgrimages and Iconographies

Leslie Perrin Wilson

in The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780195331035
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Walden: Pilgrimages and Iconographies

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)
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Concord is the place Henry David Thoreau was most intimately associated with. Since his death, Concord has assumed heightened significance as it is remembered for including the Thoreau family home, the farmhouse on Virginia Road where he was born; the Main Street residence where he died; the First Parish Church, where he rang the bell to announce an antislavery gathering, and his gravesite in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and so on. However, the connection between Thoreau and Concord is most powerfully embodied in Walden Pond, which served him as both home and inspiration. As the article reads, among the various Concord sites, Walden beckons as a shrine and it offered retreat and removal from the distractions of town life and an opportunity for contemplation. The article also looks at the ordinary tourists who view Walden as a famous literary locale. Pilgrims invest it with the capacity to spark their own spirituality, insight, and creative energy.

Keywords: Concord; Walden Pond; pilgrimage; English settler; American native

Article.  5013 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (19th Century) ; Literary Studies (Fiction, Novelists, and Prose Writers)

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