Reimagining Thoreau

Overview

Reimagining Thoreau is a major reconsideration of Thoreau's career from his graduation from Harvard in 1837 to his death in 1862. Combining biographical and manuscript evidence with a fresh reading of nearly all of Thoreau's texts, Robert Milder focuses on the drama of psychosocial adjustment occurring within and beneath the written work. Rooted in the microcosm of ante-bellum Concord but also in the private urgencies of his nature, Thoreau's writings, in Milder's view, are rhetorical efforts to mediate his ...
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Overview

Reimagining Thoreau is a major reconsideration of Thoreau's career from his graduation from Harvard in 1837 to his death in 1862. Combining biographical and manuscript evidence with a fresh reading of nearly all of Thoreau's texts, Robert Milder focuses on the drama of psychosocial adjustment occurring within and beneath the written work. Rooted in the microcosm of ante-bellum Concord but also in the private urgencies of his nature, Thoreau's writings, in Milder's view, are rhetorical efforts to mediate his troubled relations with his fellow townsmen and to inscribe and thereby realize an ideal self. At the center of Reimagining Thoreau is the first detailed interpretation of Walden as a temporally layered text that changed as Thoreau himself changed during the years of composition and whose shifts and discontinuities suggest a subtler, more conflicted story than the myth of triumph Thoreau deliberately shaped. Milder also looks beyond Walden to counter the traditional view of Thoreau's "decline." His discussion of the late natural-history essays is not only one of the fullest we have; it completes Milder's reconfiguration of Thoreau's career, which is neither a parabola whose vertex is Walden nor a continuous line, but a rising arc with periodic disruptions and recommencements, constant only in its impulse toward ascent.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...his analysis is often compelling....Valuable as psychosocial literary history for the intricate record it traces, for the discontinuities it exposes in Thoreau's self-constructions, and especially for the temporal layering it describes in Walden..." ESQ
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Abbreviations of Frequently Cited Sources
Preface
Pt. I 1837-1849
1 "A False Position in Society" 3
2 "Under the Eyelids of Time": A week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers 29
Pt. II 1845-1854
3 Disconstructing Walden 49
4 Walden and the Rhetoric of Ascent 57
5 Interregnum 1849-1852 99
6 Defying Gravity 1852-1854 118
Pt. III 1854-1862
7 "A Point of Interest Somewhere Between" 1854-1857 167
8 "Annexing New Territories" 1857-1862 183
Notes 205
Index 233
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