This volume of seven essays and a late lecture by Henry David
Thoreau makes available important material written both before and
after Walden. First appearing in the 1840s through the
1860s, the essays were written during a time of great change in
Thoreau's environs, as the Massachusetts of his childhood became
increasingly urbanized and industrialized.
William Rossi's introduction puts the essays in the context of
Thoreau's other major works, both chronologically and
intellectually. Rossi also shows how these writings relate to
Thoreau's life and career as both writer and naturalist: his
readings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Charles Darwin; his failed bid
for commercial acceptance of his work; and his pivotal encounter
with the utter wildness of the Maine woods. In the essays
themselves, readers will see how Thoreau melded conventions of
natural history writing with elements of two popular literary
forms--travel writing and landscape writing--to explore concerns
ranging from America's westward expansion to the figural dimensions
of scientific facts and phenomena.
Thoreau the thinker, observer, wanderer, and inquiring
naturalist--all emerge in this distinctive composite picture of the
economic, natural, and spiritual communities that left their marks
on one of our most important early environmentalists.
Subjects: Biological Sciences, Language & Literature
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