University of Notre Dame Professor Wins Book Award

Laura Dassow Walls, the William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, has received the Los Angeles Times Book Award in the biography category for Henry David Thoreau: A Life (University of Chicago Press, 2017).

In commenting on the award, Professor Walls said: “Thoreau immersed himself in the life of Walden Pond in order to heal the radical separation that, even in his day, was dividing a world of words feeding only on other words, from what Thoreau called ‘the solid earth! the actual world!’ — the natural and social environment in which we must all be grounded, if we are to connect with each other and share a sense of the real. Thoreau may have come down to us as the apostle of solitude, but as a writer he gave himself to the act of creating community — a community that this award recognizes and affirms, from coast to coast. For that, I am profoundly grateful.”

Professor Walls holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Washington. She earned a Ph.D. at Indiana University. An earlier book is The Passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of America (University of Chicago Press, 2009).

Below is a video of Professor Walls discussing her work.

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