Belmont University

Oriental Light Shining in Western Darkness: Thoreau’s Use of The Mengzi in Walden

In his Walden, Henry David Thoreau expresses his interest in Asia. Recognizing Thoreau’s use of Chinese philosophical ideas is important not only in understanding various passages but also in developing an appreciation for Thoreau’s overall project at Walden Pond. This paper calls attention to the ways Thoreau applied passages and allusions from Mengzi 孟子 (Mencius) to advance his argument on moral development in Walden, demonstrating how he throws Oriental light on the darkness in the West.

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