"I to Myself" by Henry David Thoreau

I to Myself An Annotated Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau Henry David Thoreau, Jeffrey S. Cramer

Publication date:
14 Aug 2012
Yale University Press
528 pages: 235 x 190mm
12 b-w illus.
Sales territories:


A beautifully produced gift edition of Thoreau’s Journal, carefully selected and annotated by Jeffrey S. Cramer

It was his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, another inveterate journal keeper, who urged Thoreau to keep a record of his thoughts and observations. Begun in 1837, Thoreau’s journal spans a period of twenty-five years and runs to more than two million words, coming to a halt only in 1861, shortly before the author’s death. The handwritten journal had somewhat humble origins, but as it grew in scope and ambition it came to function as a record of Thoreau’s interior life as well as the source for his books and essays. Indeed, it became the central concern of the author’s literary life. Critics now recognize Thoreau’s journal as an important artistic achievement in its own right.

Making selections from the entirety of the journal, Cramer presents all aspects of Thoreau: writer, thinker, naturalist, social reformer, neighbor, friend. No other single-volume edition offers such a full picture of Thoreau’s life and work. Cramer’s annotations add to the reader’s enjoyment and understanding. He provides notes on the biographical, historical, and geographical contexts of Thoreau’s life. The relation between Journal passages and the texts of works published in the author’s lifetime receive special emphasis. A companion to Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition, this gift edition of the Journal will be dipped into and treasured, and it makes a welcome addition to any book lover’s library.

Jeffrey S. Cramer is curator of collections at The Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods.

“A richly rewarding, deeply satisfying volume.”—Robert D. Richardson, Thoreau Society Bulletin

Selected as a 2008 AAUP University Press Book for Public and Secondary School Libraries.

"Jeffrey Cramer, curator at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods, makes selections from the journal and accompanies each with insightful commentary. As autumn gives way to winter, one thinks of Thoreau's work as a great naturalist, but his words about art, life, politics, friendship—and even his neighbors—make a lovely book to read, sitting by a cozy fire."—Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune (Editor's Choice)

"The selections, as well as Cramer's informative annotations, give a well-rounded portrait of the writer and his world. For those who know Thoreau only from his more familiar writings, e.g., Walden, these generous excerpts will provide an accessible entry into the thoughts, feelings, and preoccupations of this unique American author. . . . Recommended for all public and academic library collections."—Library Journal

??Say?s I to myself? should be the motto of my journal.??Henry D. Thoreau [11 November 1851]

"A welcome and appealing work, whose chief strength lies in the range and detail of the information provided in its annotations."?David M. Robinson, author of Natural Life: Thoreau's Worldly Transcendentalism  

“In editing and annotating this selection from the two-million-word journal of Thoreau, Cramer has aimed to provide general readers with a clean, reliable, intelligently chosen series of entries from the massive original. . . . He has admirably succeeded.”—Wayne Franklin, University of Connecticut 

"As the real facts of life were Thoreau's stock in trade, this volume is a valuable companion piece for his inimitable experiments with authentic human living."?Spencer Dew, Rain Taxi

"No other currently available selection of Thoreau's journals better demonstrates the diversity of the author's vision. . . . Cramer's is the first such work to represent the journal and its author in their full complexity. Cramer's generous annotations will be useful to a broad audience. . . . Highly recommended."?Choice

“Anyone who reads Thoreau in editions annotated by the great Jeffrey S. Cramer . . . will know everything there is to know about Thoreau and (amazingly) have a fun time learning it.”—Sarah Payne Stuart, author of Perfectly Miserable: Guilt, God, and Real Estate in a Small Town