Henry David Thoreau, the Missionary Memoir, and the Heathen Within
This chapter talks about Henry David Thoreau's Walden from 1854, which is a parody of a popular evangelical genre, the missionary memoir. It elaborates how reading Walden recovers a conception of “cosmic modernity” that challenges recent accounts of a secularized global modernity. It also discusses Thoreau's polemical engagement with missionary culture in the context of the transcendentalist project of comparative religion, which dramatizes how the modern encounter with global religious difference catalyzed new conceptions of the local and new spiritual communities. The chapter accepts Thoreau's wry invitation to read Walden through the lens of Protestant missionary discourse. It shows how the evangelical mediascape shaped parts of antebellum literary culture, which could not be further from the concerns of evangelical authors and readers.
Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.