The Writings of Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Edited by Joseph J. Moldenhauer
Thoreau's compelling account of Cape Cod is here presented in the complete and definitive text. His trips to the Cape, he wrote, were intended to afford "a better view than I had yet had of the ocean." In the plants, animals, topography, weather, people, and human works of Massachusetts' long projection into the Atlantic, he finds "another world." Encounters with the ocean dominate the book, from the fatal shipwreck of the opening episode to the late reflections on the Pilgrims' Cape Cod landing and reconnaissance. Along the way, Thoreau relates the experiences of fishermen and oystermen, farmers and salvagers, lighthouse-keepers and ship-captains, as well as his own intense confrontations with the sea as he travels the land's outermost margins. Chronicles of exploration, settlement, and survival on the Cape lead Thoreau to reconceive the history of New England and to recognize the parochialism of history itself.
Joseph J. Moldenhauer is Mody C. Boatright Regents Professor of English at the University of Texas.