“It is the height of art that on the first perusal plain common sense should appear — on the second severe truth — and on the third beauty. . .”

Thoreau croppedOn Thanksgiving Day, I am particularly thankful for great writers. At the top of my list of favorites this year is Henry David Thoreau. I’ve loved Walden for decades, but now, thanks to the work of editor Jeffrey Cramer, I’m reading about what was happening “behind the scenes.” Cramer is the Curator of Collections at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods, and his notes show how the seven revisions helped this book evolve from a straight-forward story to the classic “guide for the perplexed” (p.xxii). Our quote comes from a letter by Thoreau to Emerson, which was in the annotations.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, edited by Jeffrey S. Cramer, (New Haven: Yale University Press: 2004), p. 2.

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