THOREAU HAVING JUST PUBLISHED WALDEN, AGREES TO A READING ON CAPE COD
“THAT IS AS LARGE A TASTE OF MY PRESENT SELF AS I DARE OFFER YOU…”
THOREAU, HENRY DAVID. (1817-1862). American transcendentalist writer. Very rare Autograph Letter Signed, “Henry D. Thoreau”. One page, quarto. Concord, Massachusetts, October 4, 1854. Seal tear, else very fine condition. Addressed on integral address leaf to “B.M. Watson Esq., Plymouth, Mass.”, in Thoreau’s hand, with postal cancellations. Thoreau writes:
“Dear Sir, I meant to read to you but once; in the evening if it is convenient for all parties. That is as large a taste of my present self as I dare offer you in one visit. Yours, Henry D. Thoreau”.
Thoreau’s best-known work, Walden, or Life in the Woods, was published in August 1854, the year this letter was written. From 1845 to 1847, Thoreau lived in a crude cabin in the woods near Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. He spent much of his time involved with simple tasks, such as tending his garden, reading and reflecting on his spirituality. He kept careful records of his thoughts and activities during those two years, so others could share his experiences. The result of the compilation of those records was Walden, the book that made Thoreau famous. In 1849, Thoreau moved in with his parents and sister, spending hours conversing with their neighbors and sharing his experiences and philosophies.
The first edition of Walden [an edition of 2,000 copies] took nearly five years to sell through, but it was from the very first an immensely influential text, and remains so, to this day. “For almost a hundred years an inspiration to nature lovers, to philosophers, to sociologists and to persons who love to read the English language written with clarity” (Grolier). On October 8th, it is known that Thoreau gave a reading in Plymouth, from his essay entitled “Moonlight”. Letters with any possible reference to his monumental work, are exceedingly rare, as are most things signed in Thoreau’s hand. An exceptional literary item. One of our: “Best of the Best”™