Life of Henry David Thoreau
Henry S. SaltEdited by George Hendrick, Willene Hendrick, and Fritz Oehlschlaeger University of Illinois Press, 1993 Library of Congress PS3053.S3 1993 | Dewey Decimal 818.309
No Englishman did more in the nineteenth century to advance the literary reputation of Henry David Thoreau than Henry S. Salt. A biographer and literary critic as well as a remarkable reformer who participated broadly in his era's movements for social change, Salt abandoned his mastership at Eton in the 1880s to devote himself to causes including socialism, vegetarianism, animals' rights, conservation, and prison reform.
In 1890 Salt published the initial version of Thoreau's Life. With the help of American friends, he revised the book and published it anew six years later. The present volume is the third version of the biography, completed in 1908 but never published in Salt's lifetime.
Combining a concise narrative of Thoreau's life with a perceptive treatment of his ideas and writings, it stands as a penetrating study of Thoreau, stressing his distinctive individuality. Through an astute analysis of the text and a concise biography, the editors illustrate Salt's growth as a scholar and his changing views on Thoreau and Thoreau's philosophy.
Insisting on the vital, productive relationship between ethics and the study of literature, Love and Good Reasons demonstrates ways of reading novels and stories from a Christian perspective. Fritz Oehlschlaeger argues for the study of literature as a training ground for the kinds of thinking on which moral reasoning depends. He challenges methods of doing ethics that attempt to specify universally binding principles or rules and argues for the need to bring literature back into conversation with the most basic questions about how we should live.
Love and Good Reasons combines postliberal narrative theology—especially Stanley Hauerwas’s Christian ethics and Alasdair MacIntyre’s idea of traditional inquiry—with recent scholarship in literature and ethics including the work of Martha Nussbaum, J. Hillis Miller, Wayne Booth, Jeffrey Stout, and Richard Rorty. Oehlschlaeger offers detailed readings of literature by five major authors—Herman Melville, Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, Henry James, and Stephen Crane. He examines their works in light of biblical scripture and the grand narratives of Israel, Jesus, and the Church. Discussing the role of religion in contemporary higher education, Oehlschlaeger shares his own experiences of teaching literature from a religious perspective at a state university.