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The Essays of Henry D. Thoreau: Selected and Edited by Lewis Hyde Hardcover – May 5, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

After 150 years, Thoreau's elegant and sometimes eccentric writings continue to inspire environmentalists and political activists. According to Hyde (creative writing, Kenyon Coll.), most collections of Thoreau's prose tend to segregate his nature writings ("Walking") from his more political writings ("Civil Disobedience"). In this collection, Hyde arranges the essays in the chronological order in which Thoreau wrote them to demonstrate that Thoreau's political concerns were never far below the surface in his nature writings and that his concern with nature animated his political writings. In addition, Hyde provides extensive annotations to the essays, clarifying unfamiliar names and translating the Greek and Latin phrases that Thoreau was so fond of using. Hyde's edition contains all of Thoreau's well-known essays, e.g., "Walking," "Natural History of Massachusetts," and "A Plea for Captain John Brown," as well as some that are not as well known, e.g., "Autumnal Tints." Since all of these essays can be found in other collections, and since Hyde's annotations and arrangement are the only distinguishing features of this volume, only large public libraries and academic libraries need to buy it. Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Lancaster, PA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


"Enhanced by Hyde's intelligent and entertaining introduction... [Thoreau] still carries the reader along, buoyant upon the flow of his words." -- Washington Post Book World, April 21, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Press; First Edition edition (May 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865475857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865475854
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,513,130 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bradley P. Dean on May 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Astonishing that so many pages of such great writing (and such wonderful, interesting annotations) can be purchased for so little money. We have needed an inexpensive annotated edition of Thoreau's best short prose for a very long time, and this clearly fits the bill. Teachers and students, in particular, will find this book extraordinarily useful. The Thoreau material and annotations alone are extraordinarily valuable, but Hyde's excellent introduction on Thoreau's "Prophetic Excursions" make this the best deal available for a Thoreau book. Buy it; you'll be glad you did!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Corinne H. Smith VINE VOICE on November 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
When Professor Hyde set out to use selected Thoreau essays in his seminar at Kenyon College, he found no book that contained the writings he wanted. So he created one that did. The result is this handsome book, made up of 13 political and / or nature essays: 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.

Some of these titles are more familiar to us than others, because writings such as "Civil Disobedience" and "Walking" appear in dozens (if not hundreds) of compilation volumes. I found two gems in this book. The first is Hyde's own introductory essay, "Prophetic Excursions," which provides a personal and unique perspective for approaching the genre. The second is "Paradise (to be ) Regained," in which Thoreau reviews the 1842 book, "The Paradise within the Reach of all Men, without Labor, by Powers of Nature and Machinery. An Address to all Intelligent Men" by J.A. Etzler. Talk about FUNNY! Mr. Etzler evidently proposed to use the energy produced by the wind, the tide, the waves, and sunshine in order to power all the machinery needs of mankind. And Henry shoots him down at every turn! One wonders what either man would think of our current solar energy efforts and those proposals to put wind farms on Cape Cod. Of additional interest here are the annotations to the text, in which Hyde lets us in on many of Thoreau's inside jokes and references -- the kinds of remarks that would have been obvious to his contemporaries and to anyone with reading knowledge of classical literature.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 21, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed this book to it's fullest degree. I have always been a Thoreau fan, and frequently come back to this book. I am never alone when reading it. I transpose myself into nature on the coldest of days. When I wrote, " Above His Shoulders" I use many metaphors in nature to proceed through my depression and find hope.

Thoreau's work has always inspired me. With the popularity on Into the Wild, thank God we saw an increase in his works. I will forever continue to seek for truth, and find solace in nature. It helped me get through my sexual abuse and treatment.
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