Apr 18, 2009

The Thoreau You Don’t Know

(NYTBR) - It’s time to pack the old Thoreau — austere, high-minded, solitary — in mothballs and break out the new. This new model, as advertised by Robert Sullivan in “The Thoreau You Don’t Know,” is a wisecracking, subversive, entrepreneurial party boy, as likely to dance a jig and break into song as preach at you, a man who heads into Concord not just to do laundry at Mom’s, but to attend dinner parties where he plays his flute before heading back late at night to his cabin. The cabin, and the woods around them, have also undergone substantial renovations: the shack is a parody of the vacation homes of the day, and the neighborhood, far from a pristine wilderness, is Concord’s main wood supply, the mid-19th-century equivalent of “an electric power plant or a gas station,” where “the sound of axes chopping was ubiquitous.” Continued