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Henry David Thoreau : A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers / Walden; Or, Life in the Woods / The Maine Woods / Cape Cod (Library of America) Hardcover – September 15, 1989


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Henry David Thoreau : A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers / Walden; Or, Life in the Woods / The Maine Woods / Cape Cod (Library of America) + Henry David Thoreau : Collected Essays and Poems (Library of America) + Emerson: Essays and Lectures: Nature: Addresses and Lectures / Essays: First and Second Series / Representative Men / English Traits / The Conduct of Life (Library of America)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The Library of America is an award-winning, nonprofit program dedicated to publishing America's best and most significant writing in handsome, enduring volumes, featuring authoritative texts. Hailed as "the most important book-publishing project is the nation's history" (Newsweek), this acclaimed series is restoring America's literary heritage in "the finest-looking, longest-lasting edition ever made" (New Republic).

About the Author

Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1817. He graduated from Harvard in 1837, the same year he began his lifelong Journal. Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau became a key member of the Transcendentalist movement that included Margaret Fuller and Bronson Alcott. The Transcendentalists' faith in nature was tested by Thoreau between 1845 and 1847 when he lived for twenty-six months in a homemade hut at Walden Pond. While living at Walden, Thoreau worked on the two books published during his lifetime: Walden (1854) and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849). Several of his other works, including The Maine Woods, Cape Cod, and Excursions, were published posthumously. Thoreau died in Concord, at the age of forty-four, in 1862.
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Product Details

  • Series: Library of America
  • Hardcover: 1114 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America (September 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940450275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940450271
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was a writer and philosopher as well as a naturalist. Walden is considered his masterpiece.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The pages are of a fine quality, print is a nice font.
MATT
I would highly recommend this purchase to any interested Thoreau reader, as I am yet to find a comparable compilation for nearly as good a deal as this.
J. E. Stokes
While Marx seeks a fundamental transformation of society, Thoreau is attempting to cure us one person at a time.
Brian C.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 63 people found the following review helpful By FritoLay on December 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Four of Thoreau's best works come to life in their full and unabridged versions. Thoreau portrays a land of immense natural beauty, and his keen observations focus on subjects as diverse as native plants and animals to his musings on the peculiar people he meets. Thoreau's revelations on conservation show us he was a century ahead of his time, aware of a landscape and nation which was already irreversibly changing. Yet his simple life at Walden pond shows us that we are perhaps most content with ouselves when we are the most alone and unencumbered. Contains a brief chronology of Thoreau's life which presents us with many previously unknown facts. Each work in this collection has been available before, but the Library of the America's has researched and investigated the most accurate materials and corrected errors contained in previous publishings.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
While reading the four books of Henry David Thoreau (1817 -- 1862) included in this volume, I was reminded of the piano sonata no. 2, the "Concord" sonata by the American composer Charles Ives (1874 -- 1954) and decided to listen to it again to complement my reading. The Concord is a monumental work in which Ives tried to capture the "spirit of transcendentalism" associated with Concord, Massachusetts. Its four large movements bear the names of Emerson, Hawthorne, Bronson Alcott, and Thoreau. The "Thoreau" movement of the Concord captured in music for me what I had been reading in Thoreau's texts, with its reflective arpeggios, long hymnlike introspective passages, distant sounds of bells, and quiet close. Ives wrote the movement, he said, to reveal the "vibration of the universal lyre" to which Thoreau had alluded in the chapter of Walden titled "Sounds". Those who love Thoreau or the American Transcendentalists should explore Ives's great musical tribute to them and their thought.

This volume is the first of two in the Library of America devoted to Thoreau, with the second book consisting of essays and poems. It includes the two books published during his lifetime, "A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers" and "Walden" together with two books published shortly after his death, "The Maine Woods" and "Cape Cod". The former two books are philosophical and introspective in tone, even though they include much of the descriptive writing about nature for which Thoreau is famous. They are the writings of Thoreau the Transcendentalist, the Thoreau of Ives's Concord Sonata. The second two books are describes Thoreau's travels. They originated the American practice of writing about nature.
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Format: Hardcover
While every artist is tied to their time and place, this is especially true of Henry David Thoreau. To me, Thoreau has always seemed like a beautiful and tender plant that could only exist in a specific time and place. His world was rich enough to allow him to enjoy nature rather than see it as something to tame. Yet it was also rural enough to leave him natural space to enjoy as if it were wild.

It also seems to me that Thoreau's writing is more beautiful and observant than penetrating and intelligent. It is more about the senses than analysis. I think this is why it appeals so much to young people of so many generations and why he became such a symbol for the Back-to-Nature portion of the Boomer generation.

This volume contains his most influential works (the essays and poems are collected in a companion volume also from the wonderful Library of America): A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, Walden; or, Life in the Woods, The Main Woods, and Cape Cod. So much has been written about these works that I can't think of anything specific to add except to encourage their being read. However, I would encourage adults who remember reading them in their youth with such enthusiasm to read them again from the vantage point of mid-life. I think they will find somewhat less to be enamored of in the content, but they will appreciate his sheer power of writing more.

The total collection is more than a 1,000 pages and includes a chronology of Thoreau's life, notes on the text, relevant maps of the areas covered in the book, more notes, and an index.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. E. Stokes on April 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Henry David Thoreau is one of America's greatest literary treasures, and this Library of America compilation of his four complete, full-length books is an excellent purchase for any Thoreau fan. It includes possibly Thoreau's most famous work, Walden, as well as lesser-known (but still immensely inspired and entertaining)works. I would highly recommend this purchase to any interested Thoreau reader, as I am yet to find a comparable compilation for nearly as good a deal as this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian C. on June 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This review is for the Library of America edition of Henry David Thoreau's four full-length works, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, Walden, The Maine Woods, and Cape Cod. So far I have only read Walden so my review will limit itself to that book. As I make my way through the rest of the books I will add to my review. Since writing this review I have read A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers so I have added my review of that book to this review.

A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS

A Week is like Walden in the sense that it is a mix of natural description and philosophical musing but it is not quite as successful as Walden. The book tends to follow a specific pattern: Thoreau will describe the river each morning when they set off, but the trip itself is usually fairly uneventful so he will go on philosophical digressions, and then return for lunch, and return again when they stop for the evening. I love the combination of naturalist and philosopher but in this book it seemed to me Thoreau was still developing a form of writing that he would eventually perfect in Walden. There are lots of gems in the book that definitely make it worth reading but it is not quite as successful as Walden.

What I appreciated most about Walden was: Thoreau's careful descriptions of nature including the habits of wildlife and his philosophical thoughts. The descriptions of nature are still present in A Week. There are some good descriptions of birds and the various fish found in the rivers as well as the scenery along the way. However, the most beautiful passage in the book was a reminiscence of a hike that Thoreau took to the top of a mountain. He spent the night on the top of the mountain and when he woke up he found that he was above the clouds.
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Henry David Thoreau : A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers / Walden; Or, Life in the Woods / The Maine Woods / Cape Cod (Library of America)
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