The Essays of Henry D. Thoreau: Selected and Edited by Lewis Hyde

The Essays of Henry D. Thoreau: Selected and Edited by Lewis Hyde

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By (author) Henry David Thoreau, By (author) Thoreau, Edited by Lewis Hyde, Edited by Randall Hyde

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  • Publisher: North Point Press
  • Format: Paperback | 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 33mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 5 May 2002
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0865476462
  • ISBN 13: 9780865476462
  • Edition: Annotated
  • Edition statement: annotated edition
  • Sales rank: 244,652

Product description

Thoreau's major essays annotated and introduced by one of our most vital intellectuals. With "The Essays of Henry D. Thoreau," Lewis Hyde gathers thirteen of Thoreau's finest short prose works and, for the first time in 150 years, presents them fully annotated and arranged in the order of their composition. This definitive edition includes Thoreau's most famous essays, "Civil Disobedience" and "Walking," along with lesser-known masterpieces such as "Wild Apples," "The Last Days of John Brown," and an account of his 1846 journey into the Maine wilderness to climb Mount Katahdin, an essay that ends on a unique note of sublimity and terror. Hyde diverges from the long-standing and dubious editorial custom of separating Thoreau's politics from his interest in nature, a division that has always obscured the ways in which the two are constantly entwined. "Natural History of Massachusetts" begins not with fish and birds but with a dismissal of the political world, and "Slavery in Massachusetts" ends with a meditation on the water lilies blooming on the Concord River. Thoreau's ideal reader was expected to be well versed in Greek and Latin, poetry and travel narrative, and politically engaged in current affairs. Hyde's detailed annotations clarify many of Thoreau's references and re-create the contemporary context wherein the nation's westward expansion was bringing to a head the racial tensions that would result in the Civil War.

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Author information

Lewis Hyde is the author of "Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property," and a book of poems, "This Error Is the Sign of Love." He is Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College.

Review quote

"Hyde's volume is a well-chosen, handsome collection of essays with a splendid introduction. Everyone will want to use it--it's a real contribution."--Robert D. Richardson, author of "Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind" "This thoughtfully-edited gathering of Thoreau's essays will surely be of great interest both to Thoreauvians and to readers approaching his work for the first time."--Lawrence Buell, Harvard University, author of "The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture" "[This book is] much enhanced by Hyde's intelligent and entertaining introduction. He has collected thirteen of Thoreau's essays but has chosen to depart from the customary practice of separating 'nature' essays from 'political' essays, instead arranging them in the order of their composition. In so doing, Hyde reminds us that the two worlds were indivisible even in the mind of Thoreau. To separate what we call 'human nature' from what we call 'the natural world' has always been the work of sophistry, never a reflection of the truth."--"The Newark Star Ledger" "The first fully annotated edition of Thoreau's major essays, here presented in the order Thoreau wrote them: 'Natural History of Massachusetts, ' 'A Winter Walk, ' 'Paradise (To Be) Regained, ' 'Ktaadn, ' 'Civil Disobedience, ' 'Walking, ' 'Slavery in Massachusetts, ' 'Life without Principle, ' 'Autumnal Tints, ' 'The Succession of Forest Trees, ' 'A Plea for Captain John Brown, ' 'The Last Days of John Brown, ' and 'Wild Apples.' Includes 'A Note on the Selection' of the essays, a bibliography, thirteen illustrations, a map to accompany 'Ktaadn, ' and a detailed index. After the excellent, often fascinating annotations, which are presented in the back of the volume (the essays appear in clear-text form), the most valuable component of the volume is Hyde's insightful forty-three-page introduction, titled 'Prophetic Excursions.' By far the most useful, most informative single collection of Thoreau's short prose we have had."--Bradley Dean, "The Thoreau Society Bulletin"