Sunday, August 9, 2009

Written in 1965

"Thoreau received a specimen copy of Walden on August 2, 1854, and the book was officially published a week later on August 9 in an edition of two thousand copies. Of the thirty-nine new books Ticknor & Fields issued that year, it was destined by far to become the most famous. Costing the publisher forty-three cents a copy and retailing for a dollar, it was brought out in the neat, brown, blind-stamped buckram binding that Ticknor & Fields then used to identify all their books. There were two illustrations -- Thoreau's own survey map of Walden Pond and his sister Sophia's drawing of the cabin on the title page. The latter, which Ellery Channing thought had been included to satisfy Bronson Alcott's demand for appropriate pictures for his autobiographical notebooks, disappointed Thoreau. He thought the trees looked more like firs than pines and that the roof of the cabin projected too far above the door. But nonetheless it was a great satisfaction to see the book in print after all these years, and Thoreau, looking like 'the undoubted King of all American lions,' Emerson said, walked up and down Concord 'in a tremble of great expectation.'"--
Walter Harding,
The Days of Henry Thoreau

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