Bonds of Affection

Bonds of Affection: Thoreau on Dogs and Cats

Edited by Wesley T. Mott
Foreword by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
Engravings by Barry Moser
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 128
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5vk8vt
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Bonds of Affection
    Book Description:

    "How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book," wrote Henry David Thoreau in Walden. Today that book continues to provoke, inspire, and change lives all over the world, and each rereading is fresh and challenging. Yet as Thoreau's countless admirers know, there is more to the man than Walden. An engineer, poet, teacher, naturalist, lecturer, and political activist, he truly had multiple lives to lead, and each one speaks forcefully to us today.Sponsored by the Thoreau Society, the brief, handsomely presented books in this series offer the thoughts of a great writer on a variety of topics, some that we readily associate with him, some that may be surprising. Each volume includes selections from his familiar published works as well as from less well known lectures, letters, and journal entries. The books include original engravings by renowned illustrator and book artist Barry Moser.

    eISBN: 978-1-61376-138-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. xi-xviii)
    ELIZABETH MARSHALL THOMAS

    Why are dogs and cats so important to us? No answer can be simple, not only because the dog and the cat each took its own path from the wild to our households today, but also because the element that we human beings bring to the situation is older than our species.

    While our ancestors in glacial times were moving northward from the sites of our African origins onto the Eurasian steppe—the cold-climate version of our homeland savannah—their arrival was surely noted by all the resident species. Some of them, the wolves, must have seen certain similarities between...

  4. INTRODUCTION Inclining to Affection
    (pp. xix-xxxiii)
    WESLEY T. MOTT

    One evening in the woods, Henry David Thoreau wrote with famous extravagance inWalden, “I caught a glimpse of a woodchuck stealing across my path, and felt a strange thrill of savage delight, and was strongly tempted to seize and devour him raw; not that I was hungry then, except for that wildness which he represented. . . . I love the wild not less than the good” (210). Toward the end ofWaldenhe declares that access to the woods and its creatures is an essential complement—even an antidote—to our civilized lives, and crucial to our health:...

  5. THOREAU ON DOGS
    (pp. 1-41)

    Sept 13th Rowed and sailed to Concord—about 50 miles.”

    I shall not soon forget my first night in a tent—how the distant barking of dogs for so many still hours revealed to me the riches of the night.— Who would not be a dog and bay the moon? —

    With noble perseverance the dog bays the stars yonder — — I too like thee walk alone in this strange familiar night—My voice like thine beating against its friendly concave, and barking I hear only my own voice. 10. o’clock.

    We are as much refreshed by sounds, as by sights...

  6. THOREAU ON CATS
    (pp. 43-82)

    There is a total disinterestedness and self abando[n]ment vein in fretfulness and despondency, which few attain to. If there is no personality or selfishness, you may be as fretful as you please. I congratulate myself on the richness of human nature, which a virtuous and even temper had not wholly exhibited. May it not whine like a kitten or squeak like a squirrel? Some times the weakness of my fellow discovers a new suppleness, which I had not anticipated.

    [In the Maine woods] We took here a poor and leaky boat and poled up the Millinocket 2 miles to the...

  7. A NOTE ON TEXTS
    (pp. 83-84)
  8. FURTHER READING
    (pp. 85-88)
  9. THE SPIRIT OF THOREAU
    (pp. 89-90)
    Wesley T. Mott
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 91-92)