Autograph manuscript leaf from Walden

Henry David THOREAU

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Item#: 127087 price:$39,000.00

Autograph manuscript leaf from Walden
Autograph manuscript leaf from Walden
Autograph manuscript leaf from Walden
Autograph manuscript leaf from Walden

"I FIND PREDOMINANTLY IN ME AN INSTINCT TO A HIGHER AND MORE SPIRITUAL LIFE THAT THE COMMON, AND ALSO ANOTHER INCLINING TO A PRIMITIVE AND SAVAGE LIFE, AND I REVERENCE BOTH OF THEM ALIKE": AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT FROM WALDEN, IN THOREAU'S HAND, WITH EXCEPTIONAL CONTENT

THOREAU, Henry David. Autograph manuscript leaf from Walden. Concord, Massachusetts, 1854. One leaf, measuring eight by ten inches, writing in ink on recto and verso, window mounted housed in a custom portfolio. $39,000.

A wonderful item: an original autograph manuscript leaf from Henry David Thoreau's masterpiece, Walden, including passages from the chapter "Higher Laws" where Thoreau discusses his moral ambivalence about fishing, and another from the "Baker's Farm" chapter that also features fishing.

This autograph manuscript leaf contains passages from at least two chapters of Walden. The first paragraph can be found in the "Baker's Farm" chapter, where at one point Thoreau takes shelter from the weather with an Irish farmer, John Field. The passage reads: "…I trust he does not hear this:—thinking to live by some derivative old-country mode in this primitive new country — to catch perch with shiners. With his horizon all his own, yet he a poor man, born to be poor, with his inherited Irish poverty or poor life, his Adam's grandmother and boggy ways, not to rise in this world, he nor his posterity, till their wading webbed bog-trotting feet get talaria to their heels." This is followed by the text from the beginning of the next chapter, "Higher Laws," contrasting physical and spiritual existence, and part of a later section that continues that same theme but with a focus on fishing: "As I came home through the woods with my string of fish, trailing my pole along, when the world had waxed dark, I glimpsed a woodchuck dark across my path, and felt a strange flush of savage delight and was strongly tempted to seize and devour it raw. The wildest most desolate scenes had become strangely fam[iliar] to me. Thus it is I find predominantly in me an instinct to a higher and more spiritual life than the common and also another inclining to a primitive and savage life, and I reverence them both alike. I find continually that I cannot fish without falling a little in my own respect. I have tried it again [and] again. I have skill at it—a certain instinct for it which revives from time to time, [but] always when I have done—I feel that it would have been better if I had not fished. I think I am not mistaken. It is a faint intimation—yet so are the first streaks of morning. It tempts me because it's a means of having arguments with nature—not only with fishes, but with ___ and water and scenery. Which I should not otherwise see under the same aspects…"


Math equations in pencil. presumably in another hand, upside down at the bottom of the verso.

Leaf with loss to some edges, just touching text at one point. A very rare leaf from an original Walden manuscript with exceptional content.

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