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Thoreau and the Language of Trees$
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Richard Higgins and Robert D. Richardson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520294042

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520294042.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 16 May 2022

A Heart for Trees

A Heart for Trees

(p.34) (p.35) 2 A Heart for Trees
Thoreau and the Language of Trees

Richard Higgins

Richard Higgins

University of California Press

Thoreau did have a stern and prickly side. But trees brought out another side. They stirred a boyish joy in his heart and drew bursts of praise from his pen. Their postures and colors delighted him; leaves and lichen elicited his awe. Thoreau found an “inexpressible happiness” and “barely repressed mirth” in the woods. Autumn exhilarated him. The trees’ riotous fall colors set off in him “an analogous expression of joy and hilarity.” He called trees his friends and even “sentient beings” and his “distant relations.” As “stimulants of cheer,” they were his allies in his struggles against despair.

Keywords:   boyish, joy, hilarity, enthusiasm, praise, pen, delight, awe, happiness, mirth, autumn, exhilarated, friends, cheer, lichen, colors, New England

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