Letters and Politics

Fund Drive Special: Henry David Thoreau: A Life

Today we bring you a conversation on the life of Henry David Thoreau and his essay on civil disobedience and how he inspired the life of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.  He was an ardent naturalist, a manual laborer and inventor, a radical political activist who urged for non-violent political resistance and the principled withholding of taxes, and more. We talk about all this and about a seemingly contradictory support for John Brown’s raid on Harper Ferry.

Guest: Laura Dassow Walls is the William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of several books including, Emerson’s Life in Science: The Culture of Truth. most recently, Henry David Thoreau: A Life. 

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