Review of International American Studies; Hemispheric American Studies, North American Studies, US Studies, Canadian Studies, Transatlantic studies, Transpacific studies, Latin American Studies, Chicano/Chicana Studies, Native American Studies, First Nations Studies, Literary Studies, American Literature, American Culture, International American Studies Association, Learned journal, academic journal, University of Silesia Press

“Men First, Subjects Afterward”

Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience,” and the Thoreauvian Echoes of 1968 and After


Thoreau's political reputation in the United States dates from the 1960s when the Americans began to see themselves in a political context. The single most famous fact of Thoreau's life had once been perceived as his going off to Walden Pond in order to drive life into a corner; in the sixties that was superseded by Thoreau's night spent in jail in order to drive the government into a corner. This paper will deal with Thoreau’s impact in both the US and Europe in 1968, as well as two decades later when ‘Civil Disobedience’ became the slogan of the velvet revolutions in Eastern Europe.


Thoreau; Civil Disobedience; political context; the US and Europe in 1968; velvet revolutions; Eastern Europe

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Published : 2019-12-23

Bakratcheva, A. (2019). “Men First, Subjects Afterward”. Review of International American Studies, 12(2), 119-128.

Albena Kouzmanova Bakratcheva
New Bulgarian University, Sofia  Bulgaria

Albena Kouzmanova Bakratcheva (Ph.D., D.Litt.) is Professor of American Literature at New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria. She has written various books and essays on nineteenth-century American literature, including The Call of the Green. Thoreau and Place-Sense in American Writing (2009, rept. 2017) and Visibility Beyond the Visible. The Poetic Discourse of American Transcendentalism (Rodopi, Amsterdam – NY, 2013), and has translated Henry D. Thoreau’s and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s major works in Bulgarian. Her current project focuses on Margaret Fuller’s work, both research and translation. Albena Bakratcheva is life member of the Thoreau Society, USA and founding member and Executive Council member (2011–2015) of IASA, the International American Studies Association. In 2014 the Thoreau Society granted her the Walter Harding Distinguished Service Award.

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