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The Writings of Henry David Thoreau

Manuscript Edition

Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1906

Set No. 110 of 600

20 volumes


Contains a tipped in, double-sided page from Thoreau's Journal with draft sections from his later famed essay, "Life Without Principle".


Signed by Publisher Houghton Mifflin.


Three quarter leather with marbled cloth covers. Except for Volumes XIV - XX, spines are slightly sunfaded but remain crisp, clean and brightly readable. Volumes XIV - XX appear to have been in a less sun-exposed spot as their spines retain original leather darkness. This is a matched set, all from Set 110.


Manuscript Transcription:

“It is the stalest repetition [referring to the news of the day]. These facts appear to float in the atmosphere, insignificant as the sporules of fungi & impinge on some neglected thallus or surface of my mind which affords a basis for them- & hence a parasitic growth. We should wash ourselves clean of such news. Methinks I should hear with indifference if a trustworthy messenger were to inform me that the sun drowned himself last night.” [Journal entry for 7 March 1862, slightly amended. Vol. VIII, page 341.]

“It is commonly said that history is history of war, but it is at the same time a history of development. Savage nations- any of our Indian tribes, for instance- would have enough stirring incidents in their annals, wars and murders enough, surely, to make interesting anecdotes without end, such a chronicle of startling and monstrous events as fill the daily papers and suit the appetite of barrooms; but the annals of such a tribe do not furnish the materials for history.” [ Journals entry for 29 July, 1852. Vol. X, page 267.]


“The last 2 weekly papers I have not looked at. I have no time to read newspapers. If you chance to live & move & have your being in that thin stratum in which the events which make the news transpire, - thinner than the paper on which it is printed- then these things will fill the world for you; but if you soar above or dive below that plain, you cannot remember nor be reminded of them. [Journal entry for 3 April 1853, slightly amended. Volume XI, page 87.]


“C. says ‘If you have been to the P.O. once you are damned.’ But I answer that it depends somewhat on whether you get a letter or not. If you do not get a letter there is some hope for you.” [Journal entry for 22 April 1862, slightly amended. Volume IX, page 456.]

The Writings of Henry David Thoreau: Manuscript Edition

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