THOREAU, HENRY DAVID. 1817-1862. Walden; Or, Life in the Woods. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854.

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Lot 315
THOREAU, HENRY DAVID. 1817-1862.
Walden; Or, Life in the Woods. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854.

Sold for US$ 12,575 inc. premium
THOREAU, HENRY DAVID. 1817-1862.
Walden; Or, Life in the Woods. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854.
8vo. Wood-engraved title page vignette, map of Walden Pond (with imprint), 8 pp of advertisements inserted at rear (dated June 1854, no priority). Publisher's cloth, ruled in blind with gilt titles to spine, small mark to lower margin front cover.
Provenance: Martha A. Lewis (gift from Thomas J. Lewis, early ink inscription to first blank).

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived" (p 98).

A FINE, UNSOPHISTICATED FIRST EDITION OF THOREAU'S AMERICAN MASTERPIECE, "... a central document of the American experience" (Thorpe, Gifts of Genius, p 169). Thoreau's 1849 book A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers include a final ad leaf announcing: "Will Soon Be Published Walden, or Life in the Woods." In truth, it was another 5 years till Walden appeared in July of 1854, selling quietly but steadily. Walden today stands as one of the most important contributions to American literature, as poet Robert Frost noted in a letter in 1922, "in one book (Walden), [Thoreau] surpasses everything we have had in America." A BRIGHT COPY IN THE ORIGINAL CLOTH. BAL 20106; Borst A2.1.a; Grolier American 63.

"I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion" (p 98).

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away" (p 348).
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