Back to Assignments

Walden Panoramas

In 1845, nature writer Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) moved to Walden Pond, outside Concord, Massachusetts where he remained for two and one half years, building a small cabin near the shore of the pond and undertaking an experiment in solitary living. In 1854, he published Walden, a famous work of nature writing, environmental philosophy, and natural history observation. In it he reflected on the ambiguities associated with the loss of the natural environment and advances in "civilization," such as the railroad and commerce.

As you navigate through the panoramas, identify the elements of Thoreau's environment that exemplify the human need for nature and solitude. Contrast them with elements of "civilization," as manifested in the modern-day environment around Walden Pond. What in your view is an appropriate balance between nature and human civilization? Use the linked quotations and additional photographs to assist you in your interpretation.

Quicktime VR

If your browser does not automatically start loading the panorama after you click on these image links, please download Quicktime here.

Thoreau House Site and Walden Pond

Thoreau House Interior

Thoreau House Replica

Credits: Photographs by Carolyn Merchant; panorama assembly and web page by Rob Weinberg.