Christopher Lydon, WBUR, 90.9: “A Wild & Disobedient Life,” a multifaceted conversation about the multiple facets of Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau, on his 200th birthday, is an American immortal who got there the hard way – against the grain of his town and his times. By now he’s the heroic non-conformist who modeled his brief life on religious convictions: that every human being has an original relation with divine spirit, and that on earth a man must become a majority of one. So he made a dissenting record living apart, and walking the woods more like a Native American, he felt, than a Yankee. Never to church, never married, never voted and didn’t pay his taxes. He talked to the trees as almost-people, and he caressed the fish in his stream like almost-children. Manly and able “but rarely tender,” he won Emerson’s obituary praise that flatters us, too: “no truer American existed,” Emerson said, than Henry Thoreau.