Wild Fruits: Thoreau's Rediscovered Last Manuscript

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9780393047516: Wild Fruits: Thoreau's Rediscovered Last Manuscript
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A collection of musings by one of America's premier philosophers, previously kept from publication due the difficulty of the composition, includes illustrations of the wild fruit Thoreau describes.

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Review:

Henry David Thoreau was 44 years old when he died of tuberculosis in the early spring of 1862. He had acquired a measure of notoriety in his lifetime largely for his fervent support of abolitionism and his refusal to pay taxes to support the American war of conquest against Mexico, the subject of his widely circulated pamphlet Civil Disobedience. Closer to his hometown of Concord, Massachusetts, he was known as something of an eccentric who kept a home in the woods and took long walks when the citizens of the town were at work or church.

We scarcely know Thoreau better, writes archivist and scholar Bradley Dean: we still remember him today for having spent time in jail and spinning philosophy out of the New England woods. On the strength of this lost, and now published, final manuscript of Thoreau's, Dean would have us think of him as a protoecologist, and for very good reason. In the last years of his life, Thoreau resolved to learn better the science behind nature, and in Wild Fruits he collected the lore and facts surrounding the plants around his home, observing such things as the quantity of chestnuts that local trees were producing, the myriad shapes of pine cones as they unfold, the taste of "fever bush," and the smell of sweet gale.

The unfinished manuscript, cataloging dozens of species, affords a fascinating glimpse into Thoreau's method as an amateur student of nature--a method worthy of close study and imitation. Dean adds greatly to it with his intelligent commentary, which revisits Thoreau's sources, corrects a few of his errors, and emphasizes the writer's importance to natural history and belles-lettres alike. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Bradley Dean lives and works at the Thoreau Institute in Lincoln, Massachusetts (less than half a mile from Walden Pond), where he is director of the Media Center. He has published widely on Thoreau and has taught at several major universities.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780393321159: Wild Fruits: Thoreau's Rediscovered Last Manuscript

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ISBN 10:  0393321150 ISBN 13:  9780393321159
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, 2001
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9784775400111: Thoreau's Rediscovered Lost Manuscript Wild Fruits (Japanese Translation)

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