The Writings of Henry David Thoreau
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.
Henry David Thoreau
Edited by Carl F. Hovde, William L. Howarth, and Elizabeth Hall Witherell
In the late summer of 1839 Thoreau and his elder brother John made a two-week boat-and-hiking trip from Concord, Massachusetts, to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. After John's sudden death in 1842, Henry began to prepare a memorial account of their excursion. At Walden Pond he wrote two drafts of this story, which he continued to revise and expand until 1849, when he arranged for its publication at his own expense. The contemporary audience for A Week was troubled by its heterodoxy and apparent formlessness; but modern readers have come to see it as an appropriate predecessor to Walden, with Thoreau's story of a river journey actually depicting the early years of his spiritual and artistic growth.