In Walden, Henry David Thoreau famously confronts nature and selfhood in solitary retreat from society. Readers who confront Thoreau usually do so in solitude as well, but on the Internet they can do so socially, discussing as they read. The authors, who teach on different liberal arts campuses, describe their experiences putting their two classes into conversation in the margins of a new, electronic Walden embedded in an online social network. They find that reading Walden this way usefully exposes tensions between self and other, individual and community, that inform both Thoreau’s narrative and the activity of reading itself, and they argue that such online engagement can be a valuable addition to traditional, face-to-face discussion.

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