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The Quotable Thoreau
Edited by Jeffrey S. Cramer

Recipient of an Umhoefer Prize for Achievement in Humanities, Arts and Humanities Foundation in 2011
Selected for “The Best of the Best” Program at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference

Hardcover | 2011 | $19.95 / £13.95 | ISBN: 9780691139975
552 pp. | 4 1/2 x 7 1/2 | 20 halftones. | SHOPPING CART

eBook | ISBN: 9781400838004 |
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Thoreau's Quote of the Day:
"It is surprising that so many birds find hair enough to line their nests with. If I wish for a horse hair for my compass sights I must go to the stable but the hair bird with her sharp eyes goes to the road."

Few writers are more quotable than Henry David Thoreau. His books, essays, journals, poems, letters, and unpublished manuscripts contain an inexhaustible treasure of epigrams and witticisms, from the famous ("The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation") to the obscure ("Who are the estranged? Two friends explaining") and the surprising ("I would exchange my immortality for a glass of small beer this hot weather"). The Quotable Thoreau, the most comprehensive and authoritative collection of Thoreau quotations ever assembled, gathers more than 2,000 memorable passages from this iconoclastic American author, social reformer, environmentalist, and self-reliant thinker. Including Thoreau's thoughts on topics ranging from sex to solitude, manners to miracles, government to God, life to death, and everything in between, the book captures Thoreau's profundity as well as his humor ("If misery loves company, misery has company enough"). Drawing primarily on The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau, published by Princeton University Press, The Quotable Thoreau is thematically arranged, fully indexed, richly illustrated, and thoroughly documented. For the student of Thoreau, it will be invaluable. For those who think they know Thoreau, it will be a revelation. And for the reader seeking sheer pleasure, it will be a joy.

  • Over 2,000 quotations on more than 150 subjects
  • Richly illustrated with historic photographs and drawings
  • Thoreau on himself and his contemporaries
  • Thoreau's contemporaries on Thoreau
  • Biographical time line
  • Appendix of misquotations and misattributions
  • Fully indexed
  • Suggestions for further reading


"Henry David Thoreau is one of the most oft-quoted essayists in the American literary canon, and now his sage aphorisms are gathered together in a beautifully compiled and impressively comprehensive volume. Edited by Cramer, curator of collections at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods, this volume draws from well-known works such as Walden and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers as well as Thoreau's journals, letters, and other papers. . . . This volume will appear to both casual, browsing readers and to researchers needing an authoritative source on the words of Thoreau."--Choice

"This quotable book is a handy guide and should find its way onto the shelves of any library, public or academic, school or special. But given its price at under $20, it should fall on the shelves of every American. While Thoreau will always smell something of the pine woods to some of us, those woods are our very own."--Mark Y. Herring, American Reference Books Annual

"The Quotable Thoreau is not meant to be read all at once. It should, rather, be savored bit by bit for maximum engagement, preferably in outdoor settings at various times of the year. Readers would be well advised to digest a page or two each day, consider the passages, and accept or reject them according to preference."--Jeffrey Mifflin, Historical Journal of Massachusetts

"The Quotable Thoreau is thematically arranged, fully indexed, richly illustrated, and thoroughly documented. For the student of Thoreau, it will be invaluable. For those who think they know Thoreau, it will be a revelation. And for the reader seeking sheer pleasure, it will be a joy."--World Book Industry


"With the possible exception of Emerson, it is hard to name any American writer more quotable than Thoreau. This is a book that his many readers and admirers will want to read, browse, and return to."--William E. Cain, Wellesley College

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      File created: 7/11/2014

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