Writing Nature: Henry Thoreau's Journal / Edition 1

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At his death in 1862, Henry Thoreau left the major part of his writings unpublished, including 47 manuscript volumes of the Journal he kept for 24 years. Although the Journal has been acknowledged to be central to Thoreau's canon, criticism of it has been peripheral until now. In this carefully considered book Sharon Cameron argues that ten years before his death Thoreau came to see the Journal as an autonomous composition-in competition with Walden-and that it was a viable work in its own right.

Examining the crossed and contradictory imperative of Thoreau's discourse, Cameron opens up the Journal to public scrutiny--moving from questions of linguistic strategies and issues of the Journal's presumptive audience, to the matter of how the academy might deal with the material. She concludes that although the Journal is Thoreau's private work it is also his primary work and as such it should take precedence over the books Thoreau published in his lifetime.

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Editorial Reviews

At his death, Thoreau left the majority of his writings unpublished.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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226092287
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1989
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 181
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

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.
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Table of Contents

Textual Note
1. The Journal Against Walden: A Preliminary Perspective
2. The Language of the Journal
3. Natural Relations
4. Speaker and Audience
5. Writing Nature
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