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Journal, 1837-1844

Journal, 1837-1844( )
Editor: Broderick, John C.
Blanding, Thomas
Sattelmeyer, Robert
Author: Howarth, William L.
Thoreau, Henry David
Witherell, Elizabeth Hall
Series title:Writings of Henry D. Thoreau Ser.
ISBN:978-0-691-06361-4
Publication Date:Oct 1981
Publisher:Princeton University Press
Book Format:Hardback
List Price:USD $130.00
Book Description:

This first volume of the Journal covers the early years of Thoreau's rapid intellectual and artistic growth. The Journal reflects his reading, travels, and contacts with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and other Transcendentalists. With characteristic reticence, Thoreau mentions only a few episodes in his emotional history: an ill-fated romance, the death of his elder brother, and an unhappy sojourn on Staten Island, where he tried to write for New York periodicals. Parts of...
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Book Details
Pages:712
Detailed Subjects: Literary Criticism / American / General
Reference / Bibliographies & Indexes
Physical Dimensions (W X L X H):5.109 x 8.151 x 1.865 Inches
Book Weight:1.75 Pounds
Author Biography
Howarth, William L. (Editor)
In September 1842, Nathaniel Hawthorne noted this social encounter in his journal: "Mr. Thorow dined with us yesterday. He is a singular character---a young man with much of wild original nature still remaining in him; and so far as he is sophisticated, it is in a way and method of his own. He is as ugly as sin, long-nosed, queer-mouthed, and with uncouth and somewhat rustic, although courteous manners, corresponding very well with such an exterior. But his ugliness is of an honest and agreeable fashion, and becomes him much better than beauty. On the whole, I find him a healthy and wholesome man to know." Most responses to Thoreau are as ambiguously respectful as was Hawthorne's. Thoreau was neither an easy person to like nor an easy writer to read.

Thoreau described himself as a mystic, a Transcendentalist, and a natural philosopher. He is a writer of essays about nature---not of facts about it but of his ideals and emotions in its presence. His wish to understand nature led him to Walden Pond, where he lived from 1845 to 1847 in a cabin that he built. Though he was an educated man with a Harvard degree, fluent in ancient and modern German, he preferred to study nature by living "a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust." Knowing this, we should beware of misreading the book that best reflected this great experience in Thoreau's life: Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854). It is not a handbook of the simple life. Though there are elements in the book of a "whole-earth catalogue" mentality, to focus on the radical "economic" aspects of Thoreau's work is to miss much in the book. Nor is it an autobiography. The right way to read Walden is as a "transcendental" narrative prose poem, whose hero is a man named Henry, a modern Odysseus in search of a "true America."

Thoreau left Walden Pond on September 6, 1846, exactly two years, two months, and two days after he had settled there. As he explained in the pages of Walden: "I left the wood



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