Letters to a Spiritual Seeker

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Overview

"With quotable lines on every page, this is an important and affecting addition to the Thoreau shelf." —Booklist
The writing of Henry David Thoreau is as full of life today as it was when he published Walden one hundred years ago. In seeking to understand nature, Thoreau sought to "lead a fresh, simple life with God." In 1848 a seeker named Harrison Blake, yearning for a spiritual life of his own, asked the then-fledgling writer for guidance. The fifty letters that ensued, collected here for the first time in ...

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Overview

"With quotable lines on every page, this is an important and affecting addition to the Thoreau shelf." —Booklist
The writing of Henry David Thoreau is as full of life today as it was when he published Walden one hundred years ago. In seeking to understand nature, Thoreau sought to "lead a fresh, simple life with God." In 1848 a seeker named Harrison Blake, yearning for a spiritual life of his own, asked the then-fledgling writer for guidance. The fifty letters that ensued, collected here for the first time in their own volume by Thoreau specialist Bradley P. Dean, are by turns earnest, oracular, witty, playful, practical— and deeply insightful and inspiring, as one would expect from America's best prose stylist and great moral philosopher.

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Editorial Reviews

Terry Tempest Williams
“I open this book at random and find daily strength in Thoreau's words that gives me courage. . . .This is a book I keep on my desk as a record of shared faith.”
Library Journal
Dean (editor, Faith in a Seed) compiles for the first time in one volume the letters of Henry David Thoreau to Harrison G.O. Blake. After meeting Thoreau, Blake wrote to him asking for his thoughts on matters relating to the soul. Blake, an ex-minister and single parent, was struggling with his own spiritual development and hoped that Thoreau's words might rouse him to "a truer and purer life." Of the 50 letters collected here, dating from 1848 to 1861, 49 are from Thoreau to Blake. They start off meekly but over time develop into a rich, deeply spiritual discussion. Thoreau advises on earning a living, courage, materialism, sex, morality, solitude, religion, and stillness. Although some of the letters are brief and logistical, many bring out the principles that Thoreau is best remembered for his self-reliance, discipline, enjoyment of nature, and desire to live on his own terms. Sure to be welcomed by Thoreau lovers as well as readers of spiritual texts and the voluntary simplicity movement, this book is recommended for large public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/04.] Jaime Anderson, Cty. of Henrico P.L., VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393327564
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/21/2005
  • Edition description: (Edited by Bradley P. Dean)
  • Pages: 270
  • Sales rank: 629,459
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Bradley P. Dean, an independent scholar living in West Peterborough, New Hampshire, has written extensively on Thoreau's life and writings, and has edited two of Thoreau's previously unpublished booklength manuscripts.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 11
A Note on the Texts 27
Illustrations 29
Letter 1 March 1848 (from Blake) 33
Letter 2 March 27, 1848 35
Letter 3 May 2, 1848 40
Letter 4 April 17, 1849 45
Letter 5 August 10, 1849 46
Letter 6 November 20, 1849 48
Letter 7 April 3, 1850 52
Letter 8 May 28, 1850 56
Letter 9 August 9, 1850 59
Letter 10 July 21, 1852 63
Letter 11 September 1852 67
Letter 11 Enclosure 1 69
Letter 11 Enclosure 2 76
Letter 12 February 27, 1853 81
Letter 13 April 10, 1853 89
Letter 14 December 19 and 22, 1853 93
Letter 15 January 21, 1854 99
Letter 16 August 8, 1854 103
Letter 17 September 21, 1854 107
Letter 18 October 5, 1854 109
Letter 19 October 14, 1854 111
Letter 20 December 19, 1854 112
Letter 21 December 22, 1854 116
Letter 22 June 27, 1855 118
Letter 23 July 8, 1855 121
Letter 24 July 14, 1855 123
Letter 25 September 26, 1855 124
Letter 26 December 9, 1855 127
Letter 27 March 13, 1856 130
Letter 28 May 21, 1856 134
Letter 29 November 19, 1856 137
Letter 30 December 6 and 7, 1856 140
Letter 31 December 31, 1856 145
Letter 32 February 6, 1857 147
Letter 33 April 17, 1857 148
Letter 34 June 6, 1857 150
Letter 35 June 23, 1857 151
Letter 36 August 18, 1857 152
Letter 37 November 16, 1857 155
Letter 38 June 1, 1858 161
Letter 39 June 29, 1858 162
Letter 40 July 1, 1858 163
Letter 41 January 1, 1859 165
Letter 42 January 19 and 29, 1859 171
Letter 43 February 7, 1859 173
Letter 44 September 26, 1859 174
Letter 45 October 31, 1859 177
Letter 46 May 20, 1860 180
Letter 47 August 3, 1860 184
Letter 48 November 4, 1860 186
Letter 49 December 2, 1860 192
Letter 50 May 3, 1861 193
Notes 197
Acknowledgments 263
A Note to the Reader 265
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2005

    Extraordinary Book

    Thoreau's letters to H.G.O. Blake are truly inspirational. Thoreau points the way to a rewarding, spiritually uplifting life. One that places emphasis on life itself, not on the acquisition of material possessions which so frequently dominate one's life. One of the most impressive books I've ever read. 'This is a book for everyone who does not wish to come to the end of his life and discover that he has not lived.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2010

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