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    First Edition of Walden

    Henry D[avid] Thoreau. Walden; or, Life in the Woods. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854.
    First edition. Octavo (7.0625 x 4.4375 inches; 180 x 113 mm.). 357, [3, blank] pages plus eight-page publisher's catalogue, dated April, 1854 (the earliest date of the catalogue), inserted between the rear endpapers. Lithographed plan of Walden Pond facing p. 307 (with the imprint of S. W. Chandler & Bro. Lith.).

    Original brown vertically-ribbed cloth with covers decoratively stamped in blind and spine ruled in blind and ruled and lettered in gilt. Original pale yellow coated endpapers. Cloth restored at head and foot of spine, affecting a few letters in the publisher's name at the foot of the spine. Top corner of front cover very slightly bowed, with light blistering to cloth. A few small stains and areas of slight discoloration to cloth on covers. Front hinge repaired. Light foxing to endpapers and to first and last few leaves, some light browning, small faint dampstain in the outer blank margin of the first few gatherings, short tear to outer blank margin of leaf 16/2 (pp. 243/244). A few occasional pencil markings and annotations. A good, now sound, copy. Housed in a brown cloth clamshell case.

    "Between the end of March 1845 and July 4, when he began occupation, the author constructed a cabin on the shore of Walden Pond, near Concord. There he lived alone until September 1847, supplying his needs by his own labor and developing and testing his transcendental philosophy of individualism, self-reliance, and material economy for the sake of spiritual wealth. He sought to reduce his physical needs to a minimum, in order to free himself for study, thought, and observation of nature and himself...When not engaged in domestic and agricultural labors, or in fishing, swimming, and rowing, Thoreau devoted himself enthusiastically to careful observation and recording of the flora and fauna of the locality, to writing his voluminous journals, and to reading ancient and modern poetry and philosophy. His thought about this experience was developed in the journals over a period of years, and the result is Walden, a series of 18 essays describing Thoreau's idealist creed as affected by and expressed in his life at the Pond" (The Concise Oxford Companion to American Literature).

    "Solid chunks of thought, in the midst of a solid chunk of nature, proving that the minimum of cash expenditure and of creature comfort may result in the maximum of acute observation and cerebration,-for almost a hundred [and fifty] years an inspiration to nature-lovers, to philosophers, to sociologists, to those of a Calvin Coolidge turn, and to persons who love to read the English language written with clarity" (Grolier, 100 American).

    BAL 20106. Borst A2.1.a. Grolier, 100 American, 63.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2008
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
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