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Most people think Thoreau to be in the shadow of Wordsworth Thoreau strongly seeks to evade Emerson wherever he cannot revise him directly Only Walden was exempt from censure Thoreau was a kind of American Mahatma Ghandhi a Tolstoyan hermit practicing native arts and crafts out in the woods He was not really an oppositional or dialectical thinker like Emerson though certainly an oppositional personality as the sacred Emerson was not Being also something of an elitist again and unlike Emerson Thoreau could not always manage Emersons building up a kind of Longinian discourse by quoting without citation Walden for its incessant power is frequently uneasy because of an unspoken presence or a perpetual absence that might as well be a presence and that stated in Thoreaus journal Emerson does not consider things in respect to their essential utility but an important partial and relative one as works of art perhaps His probes pass one side of their center of gravity His exaggeration is of a part not of the whole This is only a weak misreading of Emerson However it attributes to Emerson what is actually Thoreaus revision of Emerson Thoreau was also a kind of Gnostic but the rebel Thoreau remained a Wordsworthian reading nature for evidences of a continuity in the ontological self that nature simply could not provide Walden is considered as both a simple and a difficult text simple in that readers feel a sense of unity It is difficult in that they have been persistently perplexed and occasionally exhorted in form The primary question is to seek what Walden means There is also the concern with Waldens style Waldens meaning can be explained in two different ways The first is by introducing a distinction between form and content which simultaneously focuses attention on the question of form and reduces content to little more than banning From the first move follows the more interesting and
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