“I USED TO WONDER AT THE HALO OF LIGHT AROUND MY SHADOW, AND WOULD FAIN FANCY MYSELF ONE OF THE ELECT”: FINELY BOUND LIMITED EDITION OF THOREAU’S COMPLETE WORKS, WITH EXCEPTIONAL MANUSCRIPT LEAF FROM WALDEN
THOREAU, Henry David. The Writings. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1906. Twenty volumes. Octavo, original three-quarter brown crushed morocco, raised bands, gilt-decorated spines, top edges gilt, uncut. $37,500.
Manuscript Edition, beautifully bound and illustrated, limited to 600 copies, with manuscript leaf from Walden (two sides) entirely in Thoreau’s hand.
Each set in this important limited edition includes a Thoreau manuscript leaf mounted and bound into the first volume. The leaf in this set is from the chapter entitled "Baker Farm" from Walden
, Thoreau's masterwork. The leaf reads, in large part: "[If it had] lasted longer it might have tinged my employments and life. As I walked on the railroad causeway, I used to wonder at the halo of light around my shadow, and would fain fancy myself one of the elect. One who visited me declared that the shadows of some Irishmen before him had no halo about them, that it was only natives that were so distinguished…" (See Volume II, p. 224). The verso of the leaf is from an earlier section of this chapter. It reads, again in part: [I know but one small] grove of sizable trees left in Concord, supposed to have been planted by the pigeons that were once baited with beechnuts near by; it is worth the while to see the silver grain sparkle when you split this wood; the bass; the hornbeam; the Celtis occidentalis, or false elm, of which we have but one well-grown; some taller mast of a pine, a shingle tree, or a more perfect hemlock than usual…" (See Volume II, p. 224).
"Thoreau's Walden occupies a special place in our American heritage. Moreover, the book is still alive and vibrant, and it reaches out to touch the life of each one of us who is receptive… it has come to be thought a central document in the American experience…" (Thorpe, Treasures of the Huntington Library). "Solid chunks of thought, in the midst of a solid chunk of nature, proving that the minimum of cash expenditure and of creature comfort may result in the maximum of acute observation and celebration—for almost a hundred years an inspiration to nature-lovers, to philosophers, to sociologists… and to persons who love to read the English language written with clarity" (Grolier, 100 Influential American Books 63). This beautiful set also contains a foldout map of Concord, reproductions of Thoreau's journal illustrations, and over 100 tissue-guarded illustrations, several beautifully hand-finished in color. Number 476 of 600 sets, signed by the publisher on the limitation page. Boswell & Crouch 1721. BAL 20145. Borst A20.1.a. Owner signature and stamp in each volume.
Fine condition. A beautiful set, with exceptional and valuable manuscript leaf from Walden.