From twenty-seven of today's leading writers, an anthology of original pieces on the author of Walden Features essays by Jennifer Finney Boylan ● Kristen Case ● George Howe Colt ● Gerald Early ● Paul Elie ● Will Eno ● Adam Gopnik ● Lauren Groff ● Celeste Headlee ● Pico Iyer ● Alan Lightman ● James Marcus ● Megan Marshall ● Michelle Nijhuis ● Zoë Pollak ● Jordan Salama ● Tatiana Schlossberg ● A. O. Scott ● Mona Simpson ● Stacey Vanek Smith ● Wen Stephenson ● Robert Sullivan ● Amor Towles ● Sherry Turkle ● Geoff Wisner ● Rafia Zakaria ● and a cartoon by Sandra Boynton
The world is never done catching up with Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), the author of Walden
, "Civil Disobedience," and other classics. A prophet of environmentalism and vegetarianism, an abolitionist, and a critic of materialism and technology, Thoreau even seems to have anticipated a world of social distancing in his famous experiment at Walden Pond. In Now Comes Good Sailing
, twenty-seven of today's leading writers offer wide-ranging original pieces exploring how Thoreau has influenced and inspired them--and why he matters more than ever in an age of climate, racial, and technological reckoning.
Here, Lauren Groff retreats from the COVID-19 pandemic to a rural house and writing hut, where, unable to write, she rereads Walden
; Pico Iyer describes how Thoreau provided him with an unlikely guidebook to Japan; Gerald Early examines Walden
and the Black quest for nature; Rafia Zakaria reflects on solitude, from Thoreau's Concord to her native Pakistan; Mona Simpson follows in Thoreau's footsteps at Maine's Mount Katahdin; Jennifer Finney Boylan reads Thoreau in relation to her experience of coming out as a trans woman; Adam Gopnik traces Thoreau's influence on the New Yorker
editor E. B. White and his book Charlotte's Web
; and there's much more.
The result is a lively and compelling collection that richly demonstrates the countless ways Thoreau continues to move, challenge, and provoke readers today.