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About the Author
Massachusetts native Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was a leading member of the American Transcendentalist movement, whose faith in nature was tested while Thoreau lived in a homemade hut at Walden Pond between 1845 and 1847. While there, Thoreau worked on the two books published in his lifetime: Walden and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. The Maine Woods, Cape Cod, Excursions, and other works were published posthumously.
Date of Birth:July 12, 1817
Date of Death:May 6, 1862
Place of Birth:Concord, Massachusetts
Place of Death:Concord, Massachusetts
Education:Concord Academy, 1828-33); Harvard University, 1837
Read an Excerpt
INTRODUCTORY NOTE. To those who are interested in Thoreau's life and thoughts a company already somewhat large, and which, I trust, is becoming larger a second volume of selections from his Journal is now offered. The same arrangement of dates has been followed, for the most part, as in "Early Spring in Massachusetts," in order to give here a picture of summer as there of spring. Thoreau seems himself to have contemplated some work of this kind, as appears on page 99 of this volume, where he speaks of " a book of the seasons, each page of which should be written in its own season and out-of-doors, or in its own locality, wherever it may be." Had his life continued, very likely he would have produced some such work from the materials and suggestions contained in his Journal, and this would have been doubtless far more complete and beautiful than anything we can now construct from fragmentary passages. Thoreau has been variously criticised as a naturalist, one writer speaking of him as not by Vl INTRODUCTORY NOTE. nature an observer, as making no discoveries, as being surprised by phenomena familiar to other people, though he adds that this " is one of his chief charms as a writer," since "everything grows fresh under his hand." Another, whose criticism is generally very favorable, says he was too much occupied with himself, not simple enough to be a good observer, that " he did not love nature for her own sake," " with an unmixed, disinterested love, as Gilbert White did, for instance," even " cannot say that there was any felicitous " " seeing." This last statement seems surprising. Still another is puzzled to explain how a man who was so bent upon self- improvement,who could so little forget himself and the conventions of society, could yet study nature so intell...