Monday, May 20, 2013

Henry David Thorough

I just picked up Walden — and couldn’t wait to put it down. Henry David Thorough is thoroughly crabby. He dislikes furniture. He dislikes houses. He dislikes railroads. He dislikes coffee, tea, and wine. He would certainly dislike this brief, breezy commentary on his work. Like I said, crabby.

Reading Walden, I realize that what I most dislike in E. B. White’s writing — the language of man and men — comes straight from Thorough: “If a man,” “When men,” “A man must.” The maleness is less a problem for me than the everybodyness: Yes, we all think and feel as you say we do. You are thoroughly correct.

comments: 2

Michael Leddy said...

Sean, I deleted your comment by accident. Blame it on my index finger and my iPad.

normann said...

It's been a while since I read Walden, and I'm sure that if I were to read it again, I would be just as annoyed. I think that Walden appeals to persons of a certain temprament at a young age, a time of life when people are especially susceptible to gurus. As we mature and draw life lessons, we come to regard the world as less black-and-white, cut-and-dried, etc. than we did in our youth. Not a criticism, just an observation.

I suspect that the opposite is true about Huckleberry Finn, which except for the "cheating" part, gets better with every reading, if the readings are sufficiently spaced. I am due for another read-through, and I will read it again, as soon as I finish the first volume of Gibbon's Decline and Fall.