Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition / Edition 1

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Overview

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 of Walden and 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 of Walden, 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 glosses Walden with 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 loved Walden will want to own and treasure this gift edition. Those wishing to read Walden for the first time will not find a better guide than Jeffrey S. Cramer.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"There is nothing like this—within the covers of one book—in the world of Thoreau scholarship. The book is fascinating . . . accurate and minute in its scholarship. It amounts to a Thoreau encyclopedia in one volume!"—Joel Porte, author of Consciousness and Culture: Emerson and Thoreau Reviewed

"Cramer’s notes are immensely useful. His edition of Walden will be a boon to ordinary readers and scholars alike."—Denis Donoghue, author of Speaking of Beauty

Alan D. Hodder
"Thoreau's masterpiece—here freshly refurbished by Jeffrey S. Cramer—speaks to our material and spiritual condition as powerfully as on the day it first appeared.  Now, more than ever, Walden is our indispensable American book."—Alan D. Hodder, professor of comparative religion, Hampshire College    
Joel Porte
"Jeffrey Cramer's Walden is the most accurate and readable text of Thoreau's masterpiece. Cramer's version now replaces all other available editions of Walden as the most attractive and reliable way to approach this great American book."—Joel Porte, author of Consciousness and Culture: Emerson and Thoreau Reviewed
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300104660
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2004
  • Edition description: Fully Annotated Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 204,809
  • Product dimensions: 7.74 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey S. Cramer is curator of collections, The Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods. He is the editor of Thoreau on Freedom: Attending to Man: Selected Writings of Henry David Thoreau.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Economy





When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, 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 sojourner in civilized life again.



I should not obtrude my affairs so much on the notice of my readers if very particular inquiries had not been made by my townsmen concerning my mode of life, which some would call impertinent, though they do not appear to me at all impertinent, but, considering the circumstances, very natural and pertinent. Some have asked what I got to eat; if I did not feel lonesome; if I was not afraid; and the like. Others have been curious to learn what portion of my income I devoted to charitable purposes; and some, who have large families, how many poor children I maintained. I will therefore ask those of my readers who feel no particular interest in me to pardon me if I undertake to answer some of these questions in this book. In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism, is the main difference. We commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking. I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience. Moreover, I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heardof other men's lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land; for if he has lived sincerely, it must have been in a distant land to me. Perhaps these pages are more particularly addressed to poor students. As for the rest of my readers, they will accept such portions as apply to them. I trust that none will stretch the seams in putting on the coat, for it may do good service to him whom it fits.



I would fain say something, not so much concerning the Chinese and Sandwich Islanders as you who read these pages, who are said to live in New England; something about your condition, especially your outward condition or circumstances in this world, in this town, what it is, whether it is necessary that it be as bad as it is, whether it cannot be improved as well as not. I have travelled a good deal in Concord; and everywhere, in shops, and offices, and fields, the inhabitants have appeared to me to be doing penance in a thousand remarkable ways. What I have heard of Bramins sitting exposed to four fires and looking in the face of the sun; or hanging suspended, with their heads downward, over flames; or looking at the heavens over their shoulders "until it becomes impossible for them to resume their natural position, while from the twist of the neck nothing but liquids can pass into the stomach"; or dwelling, chained for life, at the foot of a tree; or measuring with their bodies, like caterpillars, the breadth of vast empires; or standing on one leg on the tops of pillars–even these forms of conscious penance are hardly more incredible and astonishing than the scenes which I daily witness. The twelve labors of Hercules were trifling in comparison with those which my neighbors have undertaken; for they were only twelve, and had an end; but I could never see that these men slew or captured any monster or finished any labor. They have no friend Iolaus to burn with a hot iron the root of the hydra's head, but as soon as one head is crushed, two spring up.



I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle, and farming tools; for these are more easily acquired than got rid of. Better if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf, that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labor in. Who made them serfs of the soil? Why should they eat their sixty acres, when man is condemned to eat only his peck of dirt? Why should they begin digging their graves as soon as they are born? They have got to live a man's life, pushing all these things before them, and get on as well as they can. How many a poor immortal soul have I met well-nigh crushed and smothered under its load, creeping down the road of life, pushing before it a barn seventy-five feet by forty, its Augean stables never cleansed, and one hundred acres of land, tillage, mowing, pasture, and woodlot! The portionless, who struggle with no such unnecessary inherited encumbrances, find it labor enough to subdue and cultivate a few cubic feet of flesh.



But men labor under a mistake. The better part of the man is soon plowed into the soil for compost. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed, as it says in an old book, laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool's life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before.

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Table of Contents

Economy 1
Where I lived, and what I lived for 78
Reading 97
Sounds 108
Solitude 125
Visitors 135
The bean-field 150
The village 162
The ponds 168
Baker farm 194
Higher laws 202
Brute neighbors 214
House-warming 228
Former inhabitants; and winter visitors 246
Winter animals 262
The pond in winter 273
Spring 289
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 247 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 247 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Very poorly converted e-book

    This book is very poorly converted to e-book and contains too many errors to make it enjoyable to read; in some places it is impossible to read because you just can't tell what you are supposed to be reading.

    12 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Great Book, Poorly Digitalized

    This is a great book. However, this version presents as a lackluster scan-job with no editing yielding a finished product contaminated by numerous unintelligible conversion errors from smeared paragraphs to numerous misconverted words. I should note that I have not read this version in full as I was too dissatisfied with the poor quality to proceed much beyond the first forty pages (which I had previously read and was mostly scanning for errors in an attempt to find a legible nook version of this great book).

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Bad text

    There are several scan/ typing errors in this edition

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2011

    Great Book, Terrible Reproduction

    "Walden" is one of the greatest and most important books in American literature, but this version is almost illegible on the Nook. Spend a couple more bucks and get another version.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    Disappointed

    Walden is wonderful piece of literature. This copy contains a lot of unreadable text. Much of the text is ra dom characters and mumbo jumbo! Waste of money!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2011

    Couldnt read it

    Was not scanned well.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    The Best American Book EVER Written

    Of all the books and treatises that have ever been published since our country's founding, this one stands heads and shoulders above everything else. In this volume, Thoreau beautifully articulates all that is great about America ... not its guns and armies, but rather its trees and forests, the quite meditations possible in unspoilt nature, and the philosophy of self reliance.

    This is, as far as I am concerned, THE best American book EVER written, and is absolutely essential reading for anyone who wants to know about America.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2011

    Image contains many, many formatting errors

    The first few pages are okay, but later ones contain whole paragraphs that are indecipherable jumbles of symbols, punctuation marks, and random letters. Walden is a good book, too bad this one is unreadable.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    Horrible version

    Thus free version is so loaded with jumbled text an errors, it is difficult to tead. Where is the quality control Barnes and Noble???

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    Walden

    Not my style.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2011

    didnt get to read

    I bought thid book and it took forever to download so i didnt get a chance to read it--too bad, maybe I will try again another time

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2009

    Interesting and Insightful

    The cover of this book caught my eye in the library. I had never read Thoreau and thought I would check it out, just to see what Walden is all about. I assumed the book would be academic, antiquated and stuffy -- but it's not! With all of today's issues on greed and excess, this book is just as timely as ever.

    This copy of Walden is heavily annotated. Some people may find the notations distracting, but I enjoyed reading the annotations almost just as much as the text itself. I'm not a scholar, so I won't evaluate the notes and comments, but for me they gave me a better understanding of Thoreau writings.

    After returning Walden to the public library, I had to have a copy of my own. I expect I'll be going back to this book time and time again, to re-read passages and find inspiration. Also, it is a beautiful, well-made book, printed on quality paper and well worth the money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    Meg

    (I read it. Sounds amazing) she went to the Athena treehouse. "I will see you next full moon milady." She bowed and went up the tree.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    Jane&Kane

    Jane: *she held her arrow.*
    Kane: he howled.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    Kirsten

    She nodded and held up an arrow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    Meg

    Looked at Artemis as she glowed. "I...never mind."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    Morgyn

    She held up her own arrow to join them with the others., eyes flashing silver for a little.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    Renegade

    She howled, and a white and silver wisp traveled from her muzzle and joined the arrows.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    Kress

    Her special cresent moon necklace glowed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    Lupa

    The spikes on his pelt rose and had a faint silver glow at the tips.

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