Thoreau, the Poet Naturalist: With Memorial Verses

Excerpt

Ellery Channing's biography of his most intimate friend, Thoreau, had a peculiar history. Soon after Thoreau's death in May, 1862, Channing began to write his life, for which he had long been making preparation, both consciously and unconsciously. In 1853, when a plan was formed, which never was fully carried out, for collecting into a book under Channing's editing a series of walks and talks about Concord and its region, in which Emerson, Thoreau, Channing, and Alcott should be the recorders and interlocutors, Mr. Channing, who had then been for ten years a resident of Concord, with occasional absences in New York and Europe, had access to the journals of Thoreau, and made various copies therefrom. Later, and during Thoreau's last illness, he copied from them still more specifically; and the books, now in my possession, in which these extracts were entered, were borrowed by Emerson in revising for publication his funeral eulogy of Thoreau, which now appears as an introduction to the volume called "Excursions." Other portions were copied while Channing was assisting Sophia Thoreau to edit the Maine Woods; so that the manuscript volume finally contained many pages from Thoreau's journals for the last ten or twelve years of his life. In 1863 very few of these had been pub-

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1966

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