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Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition

Edited by Jeffrey S. Cramer
Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 400
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    This is the authoritative edition of an American literaru classic: Henry David Thoreau's Walden, an elegantly written record of his experiment in simple living. With this edition, Thoreau scholar Jeffrey S. Cramer has meticulously corrected errors and omissions from previous editions ofWaldenand here provides illuminating notes on the biographical, historical, and geographical contexts of the great nineteenth-century writer and thinker's life.Cramer's newly edited text is based on the original 1854 edition ofWalden,with emendations taken from Thoreau's draft manuscripts, his own markings on the page proofs, and notes in his personal copy of the book. In the editor's notes to the volume, Cramer quotes from sources Thoreau actually read, showing how he used, interpreted, and altered these sources. Cramer also glossesWaldenwith references to Thoreau's essays, journals, and correspondence. With the wealth of material in this edition, readers will find an unprecedented opportunity to immerse themselves in the unique and fascinating world of Thoreau.Anyone who has read and lovedWaldenwill want to own and treasure this gift edition. Those wishing to readWaldenfor the first time will not find a better guide than Jeffrey S. Cramer.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12804-8
    Subjects: Biological Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. list of illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. xv-xxvi)

    “ ‘Walden’ published.” That is all that Thoreau wrote in his journal on 9 August 1854, the day of the publication ofWalden,nine years and seven manuscript drafts after his move to Walden Pond. Several months earlier, when he received the first proofs, he simply wrote, “Got first proof of ‘Walden.’ ” It seems like one of the most uneventful of occurrences, given the lack of notice in his journals. After the failure of his first book, AWeek on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers,he may have been proceeding cautiously and without much hope of success.

    The day...

  7. Economy
    (pp. 1-77)

    When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor,¹ in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months. At present I am a sojourner² in civilized life again.

    I should not obtrude my affairs so much on the notice of my readers if very particular inquiries³ had not been made by my townsmen concerning my mode of life, which...

  8. Where I Lived, and What I Lived For
    (pp. 78-96)

    At a certain season of our life we are accustomed to consider every spot as the possible site of a house.¹ I have thus surveyed the country on every side within a dozen miles of where I live. In imagination I have bought all the farms in succession, for all were to be bought, and I knew their price. I walked over each farmer’s premises,² tasted his wild apples, discoursed on husbandry with him, took his farm at his price, at any price, mortgaging it to him in my mind; even put a higher price on it,—took every thing...

  9. Reading
    (pp. 97-107)

    With a little more deliberation in the choice of their pursuits, all men would perhaps become essentially students and observers, for certainly their nature and destiny are interesting to all alike. In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change nor accident. The oldest Egyptian or Hindoo philosopher raised a corner of the veil from the statue of the divinity;¹ and still the trembling robe remains raised, and I gaze upon as fresh a...

  10. Sounds
    (pp. 108-124)

    But while we are confined to books,¹ though the most select and classic, and read only particular written languages, which are themselves but dialects and provincial, we are in danger of forgetting the language which all things and events speak without metaphor,² which alone is copious and standard. Much is published,³ but little printed. The rays which stream through the shutter will be no longer remembered when the shutter is wholly removed.⁴ No method nor discipline can supersede the necessity of being forever on the alert. What is a course of history, or philosophy, or poetry, no matter how well...

  11. Solitude
    (pp. 125-134)

    This is a delicious evening, when the whole body is one sense, and imbibes delight through every pore. I go and come with a strange liberty in Nature, a part of herself. As I walk along the stony shore of the pond in my shirt sleeves, though it is cool as well as cloudy and windy, and I see nothing special to attract me, all the elements are unusually congenial to me. The bullfrogs trump to usher in the night, and the note of the whippoorwill is borne on the rippling wind from over the water. Sympathy with the fluttering...

  12. Visitors
    (pp. 135-149)

    I think that I love society as much as most, and am ready enough to fasten myself like a blood sucker for the time to any full-blooded man that comes in my way. I am naturally no hermit,¹ but might possibly sit out² the sturdiest frequenter of the bar-room, if my business called me thither.

    I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society. When visitors came in larger and unexpected numbers there was but the third chair for them all, but they generally economized the room by standing up.³ It is surprising...

  13. The Bean-Field
    (pp. 150-161)

    Meanwhile my beans, the length of whose rows, added together, was seven miles already planted,¹ were impatient to be hoed, for the earliest had grown considerably before the latest were in the ground;² indeed they were not easily to be put off. What was the meaning of this so steady and self-respecting, this small Herculean³ labor, I knew not. I came to love my rows, my beans, though so many more than I wanted. They attached me to the earth, and so I got strength like Antæus.⁴ But why should I raise them? Only Heaven knows. This was my curious...

  14. The Village
    (pp. 162-167)

    After hoeing, or perhaps reading and writing, in the forenoon, I usually bathed again in the pond, swimming across one of its coves for a stint, and washed the dust of labor from my person, or smoothed out the last wrinkle which study had made, and for the afternoon was absolutely free. Every day or two I strolled to the village to hear some of the gossip which is incessantly going on there, circulating either from mouth to mouth, or from newspaper to newspaper, and which, taken in homoeopathic doses,¹ was really as refreshing in its way as the rustle...

  15. The Ponds
    (pp. 168-193)

    Sometimes, having had a surfeit of human society and gossip, and worn out all my village friends, I rambled still farther westward than I habitually dwell, into yet more unfrequented parts of the town, ‘‘to fresh woods and pastures new,’’¹ or, while the sun was setting, made my supper of huckleberries and blueberries on Fair Haven Hill, and laid up a store for several days. The fruits do not yield their true flavor to the purchaser of them, nor to him who raises them for the market. There is but one way to obtain it, yet few take that way....

  16. Baker Farm
    (pp. 194-201)

    Sometimes I rambled to pine groves, standing like temples, or like fleets at sea, full-rigged, with wavy boughs, and rippling with light, so soft and green and shady that the Druids¹ would have forsaken their oaks to worship in them; or to the cedar wood beyond Flint’s Pond, where the trees, covered with hoary blue berries,² spiring higher and higher, are fit to stand before Valhalla,³ and the creeping juniper⁴ covers the ground with wreaths full of fruit; or to swamps where the usnea lichen hangs in festoons from the black-spruce trees, and toad-stools,⁵ round tables of the swamp gods,...

  17. Higher Laws
    (pp. 202-213)

    As I came home through the woods with my string of fish, trailing my pole, it being now quite dark, 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;¹ not that I was hungry then, except for that wildness which he represented.² Once or twice, however, while I lived at the pond, I found myself ranging the woods, like a half-starved hound, with a strange abandonment, seeking some kind of venison³ which I might devour, and no morsel could have...

  18. Brute Neighbors
    (pp. 214-227)

    Sometimes I had a companion in my fishing, who came through the village to my house from the other side of the town, and the catching of the dinner was as much a social exercise as the eating of it.¹

    Hermit.² I wonder what the world is doing now. I have not heard so much as a locust over the sweet-fern these three hours. The pigeons are all asleep upon their roosts,—no flutter from them. Was that a farmer’s noon horn³ which sounded from beyond the woods just now? The hands ming in to boiled salt beef and cider...

  19. House-Warming
    (pp. 228-245)

    In October I went a-graping to the river meadows, and loaded myself with clusters more precious for their beauty and fragrance than for food.¹ There too I admired, though I did not gather, the cranberries,² small waxen gems, pendants of the meadow grass, pearly and red, which the farmer plucks with an ugly rake,³ leaving the smooth meadow in a snarl, heedlessly measuring them by the bushel and the dollar only, and sells the spoils of the meads to Boston and New York; destined to bejammed,to satisfy the tastes of lovers of Nature there. So butchers rake the...

  20. Former Inhabitants; and Winter Visitors
    (pp. 246-261)

    I weathered some merry snow storms, and spent some cheerful winter evenings by my fire-side, while the snow whirled wildly without, and even the hooting of the owl was hushed. For many weeks I met no one in my walks but those who came occasionally to cut wood and sled it to the village. The elements, however, abetted me in making a path through the deepest snow in the woods, for when I had once gone through the wind blew the oak leaves into my tracks, where they lodged, and by absorbing the rays of the sun melted the snow,...

  21. Winter Animals
    (pp. 262-272)

    When the ponds were firmly frozen, they afforded not only new and shorter routes to many points, but new views from their surfaces of the familiar landscape around them. When I crossed Flint’s Pond, after it was covered with snow, though I had often paddled about and skated over it, it was so unexpectedly wide and so strange that I could think of nothing but Baffin’s Bay.¹ The Lincoln hills rose up around me at the extremity of a snowy plain, in which I did not remember to have stood before; and the fishermen, at an indeterminable distance over the...

  22. The Pond in Winter
    (pp. 273-288)

    After a still winter night I awoke with the impression that some question had been put to me, which I had been endeavoring in vain to answer in my sleep, as what—how—when—where? But there was dawning Nature, in whom all creatures live, looking in at my broad windows with serene and satisfied face, and no question onherlips. I awoke to an answered question, to Nature and daylight. The snow lying deep on the earth dotted with young pines, and the very slope of the hill on which my house is placed, seemed to say, Forward!...

  23. Spring
    (pp. 289-308)

    The opening of large tracts by the ice-cutters commonly causes a pond to break up earlier; for the water, agitated by the wind, even in cold weather, wears away the surrounding ice. But such was not the effect on Walden that year, for she had soon got a thick new garment to take the place of the old. This pond never breaks up so soon as the others in this neighborhood, on account both of its greater depth and its having no stream passing through it to melt or wear away the ice.¹ I never knew it to open in...

  24. Conclusion
    (pp. 309-326)

    To the sick the doctors wisely recommend a change of air and scenery. Thank Heaven, here is not all the world. The buck-eye¹ does not grow in New England, and the mocking-bird² is rarely heard here. The wild-goose is more of a cosmopolite than we; he breaks his fast in Canada, takes a luncheon in the Ohio, and plumes himself for the night in a southern bayou. Even the bison, to some extent, keeps pace with the seasons, cropping the pastures of the Colorado only till a greener and sweeter grass awaits him by the Yellowstone. Yet we think that...

  25. Bibliography
    (pp. 327-334)
  26. Notes on the Text
    (pp. 335-344)
  27. Index
    (pp. 345-370)