In this Book

summary

 

More than any other Transcendentalist of his time, Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) embodied the full complement of the movement’s ideals and vocations: author, advocate for self-reform, stern critic of society, abolitionist, philosopher, and naturalist. The Thoreau of our time—valorized anarchist, founding environmentalist, and fervid advocate of civil disobedience—did not exist in the nineteenth century. In this rich and appealing collection, Sandra Harbert Petrulionis untangles Thoreau’s multiple identities by offering a wide range of nineteenth-century commentary as the opinions of those who knew him evolved over time.

The forty-nine recollections gathered in Thoreau in His Own Time demonstrate that it was those who knew him personally, rather than his contemporary literati, who most prized Thoreau’s message, but even those who disparaged him respected his unabashed example of an unconventional life. Included are comments by Ralph Waldo Emerson—friend, mentor, Walden landlord, and progenitor of the spin on Thoreau’s posthumous reputation; Nathaniel Hawthorne, who could not compliment Thoreau without simultaneously denigrating him; and John Weiss, whose extended commentary on Thoreau’s spirituality reflects unusual tolerance. Selections from the correspondence of Caroline Healey Dall, Maria Thoreau, Sophia Hawthorne, Sarah Alden Bradford Ripley, and Amanda Mather amplify our understanding of the ways in which nineteenth-century women viewed Thoreau. An excerpt by John Burroughs, who alternately honored and condemned Thoreau, asserts his view that Thoreau was ever searching for the unattainable.

The dozens of primary sources in this crisply edited collection illustrate the complexity of Thoreau’s iconoclastic singularity in a way that no one biographer could. Each entry is introduced by a headnote that places the selection in historical and cultural context. Petrulionis’s comprehensive introduction and her detailed chronology of personal and literary events in Thoreau’s life provide a lively and informative gateway to the entries themselves. The collaborative biography that Petrulionis creates in Thoreau in His Own Time contextualizes the strikingly divergent views held by his contemporaries and highlights the reasons behind his profound legacy.

 

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. xi-lii
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  1. Chronology
  2. pp. liii-lxxii
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  1. [Epistolary Comments on Thoreau in the 1840s]
  2. pp. 1-4
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  1. [Thoreau at Walden in 1847]
  2. pp. 5-5
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  1. [Journal and Epistolary Remarks on Thoreau, 1847–1859]
  2. pp. 6-12
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  1. [Reflections on Thoreau through the Years]
  2. pp. 13-22
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  1. [Promoting Thoreau, 1846–1855]
  2. pp. 23-26
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  1. [Journal and Epistolary Comments on Thoreau, 1842–1854]
  2. pp. 27-32
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  1. [News of the Thoreau Family in 1849 and 1857]
  2. pp. 33-35
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  1. [A Day with Thoreau and Emerson in 1852]
  2. pp. 36-38
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  1. [Memories of Thoreau, 1857 and 1860]
  2. pp. 39-41
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  1. [Childhood with Thoreau, as Remembered in 1882]
  2. pp. 42-44
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  1. [Considerations of Thoreau’s Death, 1862]
  2. pp. 45-50
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  1. “Notice of the Death of Mr. Thoreau” (1862)
  2. pp. 51-52
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  1. “Thoreau’s Flute” (1863)
  2. pp. 53-54
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  1. From “Thoreau” (1865)
  2. pp. 55-64
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  1. [Remembrances of Thoreau in 1865]
  2. pp. 65-67
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  1. From “Thoreau” (1866)
  2. pp. 68-75
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  1. From “Literary Frondeurs” (1866)
  2. pp. 76-77
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  1. From the “Editor’s Easy Chair” (1869, 1874, and 1878)
  2. pp. 78-83
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  1. From Thoreau:The Poet-Naturalist (1873)
  2. pp. 84-91
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  1. From “Henry David Thoreau: The ‘Poet-Naturalist’ of Concord” (1874)
  2. pp. 92-96
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  1. From “Our Poet-Naturalist” (1877)
  2. pp. 97-99
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  1. [“Warrington” and Henry Thoreau] (1877)
  2. pp. 100-101
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  1. [Reminiscences of Thoreau] (1878, 1881, and 1882)
  2. pp. 102-105
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  1. From “Thoreau” (1879)
  2. pp. 106-110
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  1. [Appraisals of Thoreau] (1888)
  2. pp. 111-112
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  1. “Henry D. Thoreau: A Disquisition” (1879)
  2. pp. 113-116
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  1. From “A New Estimate of Thoreau” (1880)
  2. pp. 117-122
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  1. From “Thoreau’s Wildness” (1881)
  2. pp. 123-124
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  1. “Introductory Note” to Early Spring in Massachusetts (1881)
  2. pp. 125-128
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  1. From Henry D. Thoreau (1882)
  2. pp. 129-133
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  1. From “Henry D. Thoreau” (1886)
  2. pp. 134-140
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  1. [Conversations on Concord] (1892 and 1893)
  2. pp. 141-142
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  1. From “Thoreau” (1889)
  2. pp. 143-144
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  1. From “Glimpses of Force: Thoreau and Alcott” (1891)
  2. pp. 145-147
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  1. From “Henry David Thoreau” (1891)
  2. pp. 148-150
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  1. From “Reminiscences of Thoreau” (1893)
  2. pp. 151-153
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  1. From “Memories of Thoreau” (1897)
  2. pp. 154-156
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  1. From “Thoreau’s Incarceration” (1898)
  2. pp. 157-159
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  1. [Recollections of Thoreau and Concord] (1897–1898)
  2. pp. 160-166
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  1. From “Reminiscences of Thoreau” (1899)
  2. pp. 167-170
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  1. From “Sketch of Henry D. Thoreau” (1902)
  2. pp. 171-175
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  1. [Reminiscences of Henry Thoreau] (1903)
  2. pp. 176-177
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  1. [Thoreau’s Visit to Plymouth in 1851] (1894)
  2. pp. 178-179
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  1. From “Thoreau’s ‘Maine Woods’” (1908)
  2. pp. 180-184
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  1. From “Henry D. Thoreau” (1909)
  2. pp. 185-187
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  1. From Henry Thoreau as Remembered by a Young Friend (1917)
  2. pp. 188-199
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  1. From Memories of Concord (1926)
  2. pp. 200-209
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  1. From The Thoreau Family Two Generations Ago (1958)
  2. pp. 210-214
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  1. Permissions
  2. pp. 215-218
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 219-230
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 231-240
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  1. Further Reading, Back Cover
  2. pp. 241-241
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781609380977
Related ISBN
9781609380878
MARC Record
OCLC
785811727
Launched on MUSE
2012-06-26
Language
English
Open Access
No
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