Multispecies Walden Woods: Reevaluating Thoreau’s Religion



Walden Woods has been rendered as a kind of wilderness, and Henry David Thoreau is often taken to be an icon of individualism. However, recent work in environmental history suggests that even familiar evidence may look different when viewed through the lens of multispecies studies. We can find a more relational vision of Thoreau’s religion if we are willing to admit the other members of Walden Woods society into the frame.

Author Biography

Alda Balthrop-Lewis, Australian Catholic University

Alda Balthrop-Lewis is a research fellow at the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. Her first book, Thoreau’s Religion: Walden Woods, Social Justice, and the Politics of Asceticism (Cambridge University Press, 2021), offers a new reading of Walden and transforms Thoreau’s significance for environmental ethics. Her research has appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and the Journal of Religious Ethics.

Cabin in the woods