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自然主义诗人作家:亨利·梭罗

来源: 时间:2008-03-14 13:46:12
  1847年9月6日梭罗离开了瓦尔登湖。他花了好几年偿清他的债务并不断修订他的手稿。1854年他出版了《瓦尔登湖》,叙述他在瓦尔登湖度过的两年又两个月。该书把时间压缩到了一个单独的历年,使用四季的交替来象征人类的发展。部分是传记而部分是精神探索,刚开始《瓦尔登湖》只有很少的赞赏者,但如今评论家们把它视为一本探索自然界简单、和谐以及美好的经典美国书籍,同时也将其视为是社会环境和文化环境的缩图。
  
  At various times, Thoreau earned a living by lecturing or working at his family's pencil factory. He was not a talented speaker, but he had a natural gift for mechanics. According to Henry Petroski, Thoreau discovered how to make a good pencil out of inferior graphite by using clay as the binder; this invention improved upon graphite found in New Hampshire in 1821 by Charles Dunbar. Later Thoreau converted the factory to producing plumbago, used to ink typesetting machines. Frequent contact with minute particles of graphite may have weakened his lungs.
  
  很多时候,梭罗靠教书或是在他家族的铅笔厂工作谋生。他并非一名天才的演说家,但他对于机械很有天赋。据亨利·佩特罗斯基所说,梭罗发现了通过把粘土作为粘合剂用劣等石磨来制造一支上好的铅笔。这项发明改良了1821年查尔斯·邓巴在新罕布什尔州发现的石墨。随后梭罗让工厂转换生产适用于油墨排版机的石墨粉。频繁接触石墨的微小颗粒可能已使他的肺变得虚弱了。
  
  After 1850 he became a land surveyor, "traveling a good deal in Concord," and writing natural history observations about the 26 mile² (67 km²) township in his Journal, a two million word document that he kept for 24 years. He also traveled to Quebec once, Cape Cod twice, and Maine three times, landscapes that inspired his "excursion" essays, A Yankee in Canada, Cape Cod, and The Maine Woods, in which travel itineraries frame his thoughts about geography, history, and philosophy. He began writing the Journal at Emerson's suggestion. His first entry on October 22, 1837 reads, "'What are you doing now?' he [Emerson] asked. 'Do you keep a journal?' So I make my first entry today."
  
  1850年以后他成了一名土地测量员,“在康科德大量旅行”,并在他的日志中撰写关于26平方英里(67平方公里)镇区的自然历史观测资料,那是一份他保存了24年的200万字档案。他还去过一次魁北克、两次科德角、三次缅因州,那些风景给了他的“远足”散文很多灵感,例如《一个美国佬在加拿大》、《科德角》和《缅因森林》,其中的旅行日记表达了他对地理、历史以及哲学的想法。在爱默生的建议下他开始撰写日志。他于1837年10月22日的首次记录指出:“‘你在做什么呢?’他(爱默生)问道,‘你有记日志吗?’因此我今天做了第一次记录。”
  
  Hailed as an early American environmentalist, Thoreau wrote essays on autumnal foliage, the succession of forest trees, and the dispersal of seeds, collected in Excursions. Scientists regard these works as anticipating ecology, the study of interactions between species, places, and seasons. He was an early advocate of recreational hiking and canoeing, of conserving natural resources on private land, and of preserving wilderness as public land. Thoreau was also one of the first American supporters of Darwin's theory of evolution. Although he was not a vegetarian, he ate relatively little meat and advocated vegetarianism as a means of self-improvement.
  
  梭罗被拥戴为一名早期的美国环境保护论者,他撰写有关秋天的树叶、林木演替、种子传播的随笔,并被收录在《远足》中。科学家把这些作品视为对生态学的预见,那是对物种、地方以及季节之间交互作用的研究。他是早期的休闲徒步旅行和划独木舟、保存私有土地的天然资源、以及如同公有土地一样保留原野的倡导者。梭罗还是达尔文进化论的首位美国支持者。虽然他不是一名素食者,但他吃肉相对较少,而且提倡把素食主义作为自我提高的一种方法。
  
  Thoreau was not without his critics. Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson judged Thoreau's endorsement of natural simplicity over the tangles of modern society to be a mark of effeminacy: "...Thoreau's content and ecstasy in living was, we may say, like a plant that he had watered and tended with womanish solicitude; for there is apt to be something unmanly, something almost dastardly, in a life that does not move with dash and freedom, and that fears the bracing contact of the world. In one word, Thoreau was a skulker. He did not wish virtue to go out of him among his fellow-men, but slunk into a corner to hoard it for himself. He left all for the sake of certain virtuous self-indulgences." However, English novelist George Eliot, writing in the Westminster Review, characterized such critics as uninspired and narrow-minded: "People—very wise in their own eyes—who would have every man's life ordered according to a particular pattern, and who are intolerant of every existence the utility of which is not palpable to them, may pooh-pooh Mr. Thoreau and this episode in his history, as unpractical and dreamy." Throughout the 19th century, Thoreau was dismissed as a cranky provincial, hostile to material progress. In a later era, his devotion to the causes of abolition, Native Americans, and wilderness preservation have marked him as a visionary.
  
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