an American author who, next to his friend and neighbour Emerson, gave the most considerable impulse to the "transcendental" movement in American literature, born in Concord, where his life was mostly spent, of remote French extraction; was with difficulty enabled to go to Harvard, where he graduated, but without distinction of any sort; took to desperate shifts for a living, but simplified the problem of "ways and means" by adopting Carlyle's plan of "lessening your denominator"; the serious occupation of his life was to study nature in the woods around Concord, to make daily journal entries of his observings and reflections, and to preserve his soul in peace and purity; his handicrafts were unwelcome necessities thrust upon him; "What after all," he exclaims, "does the practicalness of life amount to? The things immediate to be done are very trivial; I could postpone them all to hear this locust sing. The most glorious fact in my experience is not anything I have done or may hope to do, but a transient thought or vision or dream which I have had"; his chief works are "Walden," the account of a two years' sojourn in a hut built by his own hands in the Concord Woods near "Walden Pool," "A Week on the Concord and Merrimac River," essays, poems, etc. (1817-1862).

The Nuttall Encyclopaedia. . 1907.

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