At his death, Henry Thoreau left the majority of his writing unpublished. The bulk of this material is a journal that he kept for twenty-four years. Sharon Cameron's major claim is that this private work (the Journal) was Thoreau's primary work, taking precedence over the books that he published in his lifetime. Her controversial thesis views Thoreau's Journal as a composition that confounds the distinction between public and private—the basis on which our conventional treatment of discourse depends.
At his death, Thoreau left the majority of his writings unpublished. The bulk of this material is a journal which he kept for twenty-four years. Though the Journal is central to studies of Thoreau's canon, criticism of it until now has been peripheral because no vocabulary has been developed to interrogate it directly. Critics have usually assumed that the Journal should be read as draft material for work Thoreau published during his lifetime. Cameron (English, Johns Hopkins) contests that notion. Her major claim is that the private work (the Journal) is the primary work, taking precedence over the books Thoreau published in his lifetime. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Sharon Cameron is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English at the Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of Lyric Time: Dickinson and the Limits of Genre and The Corporeal Self: Allegories of the Body in Hawthorne and Melville.