New York Times corrects misquote of Thoreau's 'quiet desperation' line

The New York Times corrects a misquote of Thoreau's "quiet desperation" line:

An article last Sunday about Alan Z. Feuer, a New Yorker who reinvented himself and was often seen at society balls, included a quotation in which one of Mr. Feuer’s society friends misattributed an aphorism. While Henry David Thoreau is often credited with variations of the aphorism “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and die with their song still inside them,” that is not what he wrote in “Walden.” He merely said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” (Or to quote another Thoreau aphorism: “You must work very long to write short sentences.”)

  • Craig Silverman

    Craig Silverman ( is an award-winning journalist and the founder of Regret the Error, a blog that reports on media errors and corrections, and trends regarding accuracy and verification.


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