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Approaches to Teaching Thoreau's Walden and Other Works

Editor(s): Richard J. Schneider

Pages: xi & 223 pp.
Published: 1996
ISBN: 9780873527347 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780873527330 (cloth)

"Schneider has assembled a rich set of tools for teaching Thoreau to a spectrum of students, from the engineer to the English major."
American Literature

"This volume should enable teachers, from the community college level on through graduate school, to convey to their students those factors that make Thoreau an indispensable part of America's literary heritage."
Philip F. Gura, author of The Wisdom of Words: Language, Theology, and Literature in the New England Renaissance

In a recent survey of college teachers, Walden was mentioned more frequently than any other work as a text regularly included in nineteenth-century American literature courses. Today's students are as likely to encounter Thoreau in freshman composition classes as they are in upper-level environmental literature seminars. "The challenge of teaching Thoreau, then," Richard J. Schneider says, "is how to make most effective use of his obvious appeal amid the variety of possible course structures, critical theories, and pedagogical methods."

Table of Contents

Approaches to Teaching Thoreau's Walden and Other Works

Introduction: Thoreau's Challenge to Teachers

Richard J. Schneider

Classroom Texts

Biographical Works

General Studies of Thoreau and His Times

Critical Commentary on Walden

Critical Commentary on "Civil Disobedience" and Other Works

Visual and Sound Resources



Thoreau and Walden: Contexts

Walden and the Construction of the American Renaissance
Linck C. Johnson

Thoreau and Anglo-American Romanticism
Frederick Garber

"Extra Vagant" Education: Teaching Walden in the Context of Transcendentalism
T. S. McMillin

"Where I Lived": The Environs of Walden
William Howarth

Teaching Walden: Pedagogical and Critical Strategies

The Many Paths to and from Walden
Richard Lebeaux

Reader Responses to Walden: A Study of Undergraduate Reading Patterns
Richard Dillman

Teaching Thoreau as a Visionary Thinker
Robert Franciosi

Reading the Garden: Excursions into Walden
Frank J. McGill

Reclaiming Thoreau's Humor for the Classroom
Michael D. West

"What Are You Doing Out There?": Teaching Thoreau to College Freshmen
Stanley S. Blair

Walden and Awakening: Thoreau in a Sophomore American Literature Survey Course
Scott Slovic

Teaching Walden as Transcendental Strip Tease Art
Annette M. Woodlief

The Privileged Protester: Teaching Thoreau to Two-Year-College Students
Deborah T. Meem

"Baker Farm" and Historicism: The Rainbow's Arch
Leonard N. Neufeldt

Walden: Text, Context, Pretext
Henry Golemba

Teaching Other Thoreau Works

The Genres of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Stephen Adams

"Civil Disobedience" and the Problem of Thoreau's "Peaceable Revolution"
Michael Meyer

"Civil Disobedience" (or Is It "Resistance to Civil Government"?) in a Composition Course
Laraine Fergenson

"Life without Principle" and Cape Cod as Foils to Walden
Richard J. Schneider

Thoreau's "Walking" and the Ecological Imperative
David M. Robinson

Teaching Thoreau's Journal
H. Daniel Peck

Thoreau beyond the Conventional Classroom

Thoreau in the Wilderness
David G. Fuller

"Monarch of All I Survey": Thoreau among Engineering Students
Wesley T. Mott

Sauntering after Sixty: Thoreau in the Elderhostel Program
Gordon V. Boudreau

Works Cited


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