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The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, 1837-1861

4.37 of 5 stars 4.37  ·  rating details  ·  118 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Henry David Thoreau’sJournalwas his life’s work: the daily practice of writing that accompanied his daily walks, the workshop where he developed his books and essays, and a project in its own right—one of the most intensive explorations ever made of the everyday environment, the revolving seasons, and the changing self. It is a treasure trove of some of the finest prose in ...more
ebook, 704 pages
Published November 16th 2011 by NYRB Classics (first published June 1960)
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Douglas Dalrymple
It can only be the massive bulk of the thing in unexpurgated form that keeps the Journal from its rightful place on the top shelf of American literature. NYRB's abbreviated edition may do something to help more readers find it. Thoreau in the Journal (especially by his mid-thirties, when he’d grown up a bit) is better than he is anywhere else: fresher, less naive and less preachy, more reflective and self-questioning. Whatever he turns his eyes to, his powers of observation astonish. So does his ...more
Francisca Pageo
CLibrosuesta creer y asimilar cómo alguien puede amar tanto la naturaleza, tanto que se adentra en ella y la hace suya, propia, casi digna de la vida de un animal silvestre que crece, se entremezcla y se diluye con ella. Así es la vida que Henry David Thoreau nos relata en sus diarios, los cuales abarcan desde el 22 de Octubre de 1837 hasta el 2 Septiembre de 1861. En ellos, Thoreau nos habla de los bosques, lagos, riachuelos, árboles y animales. Nos los describe, y como él mismo dice: “¿No podr ...more
Okay, this is cheating on my part, but it is good some version of the Journal is out there (so go get it, dear ones). What I have, and have had since purchase in the early 1970's, is the Dover two volume complete journals of Thoreau, every little observed gnat or weed, every small exclamation of awe or beauty, every depressed rumination over friendship. It was in his journals that our Henry worked out what would become his essays and his books; where he polishes phrases and notes the bloom time ...more
Like a rough draft of Walden with lots more weather and plant observations. He recorded on July 6, 1845: “I wish to meet the facts of life—the vital facts, which are the phenomena or actuality the gods meant to show us—face to face, and so I came down here.” Also reveals more of his ornery character: “Most New England biographies and journals—John Adams’s not excepted—affect me like the opening of tombs.” Good for a few pages a day, as a companion to contemplation.
I am a huge fan of Thoreau and was delighted to see his journals collected in a book. He writes beautifully and his thoughts about life and society are often brilliant and thought-provoking, though there was a bit too much about nature for my taste (detailed descriptions of plants, animals, seasons, temperature, weather, ponds).
A good guide for hiking, inspires better observation and description. Wonderful variety. Not plot bound, which I like.
The Journal is huge. To be accessible to most, an abridgment is necessary. This abridgment, one of the most recent, succeeds in bringing the deep spirituality, keen observation and passionate but simple prose of Henry David Thoreau's private writing together in a still large but manageable volume.

To review the writing of Thoreau himself is a different affair than review a particular collection of same. Though at times the man does allow himself to be carried away by the smallest of details, ramb
Jun 26, 2012 James rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: individualists, writers, iconoclasts
Recommended to James by: Ennyman's Territory (
This is a book to read and reread, relishing the thoughts of Henry David Thoreau on life, nature and humanity. He was a complex but simple man, well-read but for all his reading his imagination was on fire with thoughts that were his own and seeds for the ages. He was a journalist in the original sense of the word as one who creates a journal, and his was based on the facts of his life as he lived mainly in Concord and briefly at Walden Pond.
"How simple is the natural connection of events. We co
For one who enjoys the great outdoors, walking, and hiking, its a great companion, also helped me to get started into keeping a journal.
Its like a continual never ending read, always checking something in it..
Carolyn Hoffman
I prefer the journals to most of the other writings . I love their immediacy and the writing is still amazing.I'm re-reading Thoreau's journals again. Sometimes I no sooner finish then I start again.
Saket Suryesh
Disarmingly honest, a great viewpoint and poetic in rendering. What a memoir, so well written, so good..must read. No pretence, no self-righteous high moral ground, no dirty linens being washed here..vow!
great collection. my copy is currently roaming the country on a great adventure.
Like poetry. Beautiful and brilliant and extremely applicable.
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NYRB Classics: The Journal of Henry David Thoreau 1837 - 1861 3 7 Oct 24, 2013 05:19PM  
  • Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind
  • The Making of a Philosopher: My Journey Through Twentieth-Century Philosophy
  • Sheppard Lee, Written by Himself
  • Twenty Days with Julian and Little Bunny by Papa
  • The Middle of the Journey
  • The Snows of Yesteryear
  • Artificial Paradises
  • The Portable Poe
  • The New York Stories of Edith Wharton
  • Nature Stories
  • Staying Put: Making a Home in a Restless World
  • The Stammering Century
  • All the Strange Hours: The Excavation of a Life
  • Reveille in Washington, 1860-65
  • Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast
  • The Crisis of the European Mind
  • Miami and the Siege of Chicago
  • The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual: A Historical Analysis of the Failure of Black Leadership
Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau)was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, philosopher, and abolitionist who is best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.

Thoreau's books,
More about Henry David Thoreau...
Walden Walden & Civil Disobedience Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (Collected Essays) Walking Walden and Other Writings

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“When I consider that the nobler animal have been exterminated here - the cougar, the panther, lynx, wolverine, wolf, bear, moose, dear, the beaver, the turkey and so forth and so forth, I cannot but feel as if I lived in a tamed and, as it were, emasculated country... Is it not a maimed and imperfect nature I am conversing with? As if I were to study a tribe of Indians that had lost all it's warriors...I take infinite pains to know all the phenomena of the spring, for instance, thinking that I have here the entire poem, and then, to my chagrin, I hear that it is but an imperfect copy that I possess and have read, that my ancestors have torn out many of the first leaves and grandest passages, and mutilated it in many places. I should not like to think that some demigod had come before me and picked out some of the best of the stars. I wish to know an entire heaven and an entire earth.” 41 likes
“Man is the artificer of his own happiness.” 13 likes
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