by Henry David Thoreau
This essay was presented as a lecture by Thoreau in his later years but only published after his death. It’s best known quote, “In wildness is the preservation of the world,” has become one of the rallying cries of the environmental movement. But Thoreau means much more by the phrase than most of his modern admirers realize. “Wildness” is Nature itself, and Man is seen as an aspect or manifestation of Nature. The rules that apply to one apply to the other. This is, in fact, one of the three seminal works of the environmental movement, the other two being Emerson’s Nature and George Perkins Marsh’s Man and nature; or, Physical geography as modified by human action.