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THOREAU, HENRY DAVID. Walden; or, Life in the Woods

Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854

May 1854 ads (i.e. pre-publication, as desired). Map. Bookplate of Bela B. Metcalf; modern gift inscription on second blank. Original brown cloth. Minimal wear to spine ends, minor stains to front free endpaper. An excellent, tight copy. Half morocco case.

FIRST EDITION. A handsome copy of Walden, published in an edition of 2000 copies.

“The charm of its vignettes of nature was considered its most attractive feature at that time, but its telling satire of the American business economy, its advocacy of the virtues of simple life, and its Transcendentalist endorsement of sturdy individualism have won it an ever-increasing number of readers… It has become one of the bestselling American nonfiction classics and has been translated into virtually every major modern language. The word ‘Walden’ has become a universal synonym for a personal utopia” (ANB).

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion” (Thoreau).

“The image of the solitary Thoreau writing in his cabin at Walden Pond is firmly impressed on the American imagination. This book contains “solid chunks of thought, in the midst of a solid chunk of nature… For almost a hundred years an inspiration to nature lovers, to philosophers, to sociologists… and to persons who love to read the English language written with clarity” (Grolier 100 American Books 63).

This is an especially handsome and unrestored copy.