Journal, ed. by Bradford Torrey, 1837-1846, 1850-Nov. 3, 1861

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Houghton Mifflin
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Dec 31, 1906
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Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts, July 12, 1817, and died there May 6, 1862. Most of his life was spent in that town, and most of the localities referred to in this volume are to be found there. His Journal, from which the following selections were made, was bequeathed to me by his sister Sophia, who died October 7, 1876, at Bangor, Maine. Before it came into my possession I had been in the habit of borrowing volumes of it from time to time, and thus continuing an intercourse with its author which I had enjoyed, through occasional visits and correspondence, for many years before his death, and which I regard as perhaps the highest privilege of my life.

In reading the Journal for my own satisfaction, I had sometimes been wont to attend each day to what had been written on the same day of the month in some other year; desiring thus to be led to notice, in my walks, the phenomena which Thoreau noticed, so to be brought nearer to the writer by observing the same sights, sounds, etc., and if possible have my love of nature quickened by him. This habit suggested the arrangement of dates in the following pages, viz., the bringing together of passages under the same day of the month in different years. In this way I hoped to make an interesting picture of the progress of the seasons, of Thoreau's year. It was evidently painted with a most genuine love, and often apparently in the oj)en air, in the very presence of the phenomena described, so that the written page brings the mind of the reader, as writing seldom does, into closest contact with nature, making him see its sights, hear its sounds, and feel its very breath upon his cheek.

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