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by Henry David Thoreau
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Walden Reading Summary

  • Thoreau encourages reading, although he admits that even he had trouble finishing his copy of Homer's Iliad while he was farming.
  • According to our author, reading ancient Greek authors such as Homer and Aeschylus (go ahead and try to pronounce that one) in the original Greek is crucial to a real education. It requires a kind of slow, intense process of reading that trashy books just don't (nothing against Nora Roberts).
  • Real literature is closest to life, he says, and it is essential to bringing out man's intellectual potential.
  • Thoreau proposes that the entire village become a university – why should learning be confined to just a few students at university? Working together, the entire village could collectively generate wisdom, and ultimately a better life.
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