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Funny-Ass Thoreau

$15.00

Regeneration Series, Vol. 1

“[Thoreau] was literally the most childlike, unconscious, and unblushing egotist it has ever been my fortune to encounter.”—HENRY JAMES, Sr.

“Thoreau’s assault on the Concord society of the mid-nineteenth century has the quality of a modern western: he rides into the subject at top speed, shooting in all directions...and when the shooting dies down and the air clears, one is impressed chiefly by the courage of the rider and by how splendid it was that somebody should have ridden in there and raised all that ruckus.”—E.B. WHITE

“Thoreau defined his own position to the world not only with unflinching honesty, but with a glow of rapture at his heart. He seems to hug his own happiness.”—VIRGINIA WOOLF

“If Henry Thoreau was a thorn-bush, he was the kind that bears the fragrant flowers.”—Van Wyck Brooks

“Playful humor and sparkling thought appear on almost every page.”—The Christian Register, 1854

“Unique, original, comical, and highfalutin.”—The Eastern Argus, 1849

“Witty, sarcastic, and amusing.”—The Worcester Palladium, 1849

“Intellectual entertainment that should not be neglected.”—The Worcester Spy, 1849

America’s ur-nonconformist, the so-called “hermit” Henry David Thoreau, was a comic at heart. Amid the transcendental musings of his best known works and the nature descriptions in his voluminous journal, Thoreau was constantly tossing off jokes, whipping out witticisms, and making fun of himself and others.

Now, just in time for the bicentennial of his birth, Funny-Ass Thoreau presents the famous writer in marvelous display of his most underappreciated quality: his killer sense of humor. Here's Henry in his own words as he tries to wrangle a pig, pees in the woods, loses a tooth, laughs at Emerson shooing off his own cow, observes the slippery slapstick of snowmelt and mud in the Concord streets, elaborates on his dislike of other men’s bowels, and more.

Included in this volume is Thoreau’s posthumously-published lecture, “Getting a Living,” which can (and should be) read as a stand-up philosophy routine bristling with one-liners.

(Edited & with an introduction by M. Allen Cunningham)