Henry David Thoreau, The Journal
NYRB Classics, November 2009
Preface by John R. Stilgoe
Thoreau's 7,000-page Journal was, in every possible sense, his life's work: the daily practice that accompanied his daily walks, the source from which he drew his books and essays, and perhaps the most searching investigation ever made into the everyday environment, seasonal changes, and the ecology or interrelations among different facets of nature and the moods and mind of the observer. It is a treasure trove of some of the finest prose in the English language.
There are other available editions with selections from the Journal, but none capacious enough to be a true one-volume abridgment of the whole.
48-minute interview (audio) on Open Source / Huffington Post
Read Searls's Introduction /
Stilgoe's Preface /
Reviews (Washington Post, Booklist) /
"It is the unflagging beauty of the writing, day after day, that confirms its greatness among writers' journals. It is not natural for a man to write this well every day. Only a man who had no other life but to practice a particularly intense and truthful kind of prose could have done it." —Alfred Kazin
"At times he seems to reach beyond our human powers in what he perceives upon the horizon of humanity.... Thoreau defined his own position to the world not only with unflinching honesty, but with a glow of rapture at his heart.... [All his books] are packed with subtle, conflicting, and very fruitful discoveries [and with the Journal] we have a chance of getting to know Thoreau as few people are known, even by their friends." —Virginia Woolf