Hermits Rock

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This story about studying climate in Concord is interesting for its connection to Thoreau, but more important than that is the value gained by years’ worth of observations of the world by amateur and professional naturalists. It’s an interesting kind of scientific research this, that requires diligent wading through archives and interviewing of the sort that historians do.



I saw that on the morning of the day I was teaching Walden to non-literature majors and thought it would be a really great anecdote to show how influential Thoreau continues to be. The students were not nearly as impressed as I was, maybe because most of them couldn’t identify five plants by name.

My own foray into teaching Walden went so-so, in part because what always happens to me when I read it happened when I taught it: that last third is good, but I have to work pretty hard to maintain the same level of enthusiasm….

Which makes me think I should probably read the book backwards.

What edition are you teaching from?

It was just from an anthology for non-majors—they only read “Economy,” which I find fascinating largely because it was so influential on me as a young reader (which fascination does not easily translate to other young readers).