Thoreau’s Journal: A Life of Listening

Thoreau's Journal, 1856

From the Morgan Library & Museum:

Thoreau’s Journal: A Life of Listening

Listen to Thoreau’s personal reflections on nature, friendship, slavery, and society. 

For a quarter century, American author Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) filled notebook after notebook with his observations and reflections, strong in the belief that a closely examined life would yield infinite riches. “By some fortunate coincidence of thought or circumstance,” he wrote in 1852, “I am attuned to the universe – I am fitted to hear – my being moves in a sphere of melody.” The selections presented here provide just a glimpse into his voluminous journal. They exemplify his lifelong practice of paying close attention to the world with his heart, mind, and senses—and keeping track of it all, day by day and year by year. 

Thoreau, Hawk tail

The Protester: April 1851

The Listener: 17 August 1851

The Skeptic: 3 February 1852

The Friend: 4 April 1852

The Transcendentalist: 5 March 1853

The Saunterer: 5 December 1856

The Surveyor: 29 October 1857

The Naturalist: 11 November 1858


Morgan Library