Cover image for A historical guide to Henry David Thoreau
A historical guide to Henry David Thoreau
Cain, William E., 1952-
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
viii, 285 pages : illustrations, map ; 22 cm.
Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862 : a brief biography / William E. Cain -- Thoreau, manhood, and race : quiet desperation versus representative isolation / Dana D. Nelson -- Domesticity on Walden Pond / Cecelia Tichi -- Romancing the real : Thoreau's technology of inscription / Laura Dassow Walls -- The theory, practice, and influence of Thoreau's Civil disobedience / Lawrence A. Rosenwald -- "That terrible Thoreau" : Concord and its hermit / Robert A. Gross.
Reading Level:
1420 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3054 .H57 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



As an essayist, philosopher, ex-pencil manufacturer, notorious hermit, tax protester, and all-around original thinker, Thoreau led so singular a life that he is in some ways a perfect candidate for the historical and biographical treatments made possible by the Historical Guides to American Authors series format. William E. Cain, the volume editor, includes contributions on his relationship with 19th century authority and concepts of the land, which should help the volume's reach beyond those who read Thoreau for illumination to those general readers who love him for embodying the spirit of American rebellion.

Author Notes

William E. Cain is Mary Jewitt Gaiser Professor of English at Wellesley College.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The fourth volume in the new "Historical Guides to American Authors" series, this titleùlike its predecessors on Hemingway (ed. by Linda Wanger-Martin), Whitman (ed. by David Reynolds), and Emerson (ed. by Joel Myerson), all published in 2000--is a highly useful collection of well-written essays that add new dimensions to the reader's understanding. Usually seen by later generations of readers as a spokesman for individualism and a lover of the natural environment, Thoreau is represented here as a man reacting to forces and ideas that were part of the world he inhabited. For example, Dana Nelson looks at how Thoreau reacted to 19th-century ideas about manhood, labor, and ethnicity. Cecilia Tichi uses Thoreau's "set[ting] up house" at Walden Pond to critique 19th-century practices of housekeeping and ideas of domesticity. Laura Dassow Walls focuses on Thoreau's struggle to define science and technology in his own terms. Lawrence Rosenwald measures Thoreau alongside his contemporary social critics, principally Alcott, Garrison, and Douglass. And Robert Gross reveals Thoreau through the eyes of Concord neighbors who were annoyed most by his aloofness from the common life of his community. A brief biography, bibliographical essay, and collection of contemporary illustrations round out a book of interest to students of both literature and history. All levels. P. J. Ferlazzo Northern Arizona University

Table of Contents

Historical Guides to American Authorsp. ii
Acknowledgmentsp. v
Thoreau in His Timep. 59
Illustrated Chronologyp. 243
Bibliographical Essayp. 265
Contributorsp. 275
Indexp. 277