THOREAU by Henry Seidel Canby
Kirkus Star

THOREAU

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The Works of Thoreau were selected and edited by Dr. Canby, and this biography, published as a companion volume to the Works should prove a definitive piece of scholarship, the last word in analysis of one of the most interesting figures in American letters. Dr. Canby has absorbed all that has been said and written on Thoreau, he has sought the answer to the puzzle of his character in his own writings, he has traced his steps, followed obscure trails, talked to old residents. He has succeeded in debunking many of the theories and legends that have concealed the real Thoreau, and has recreated a man of flesh and blood, crotchety, difficult, shrewd, intolerant, but with a gift for friendship which sometimes went askew, with capacity for emotional experience which was usually frustrated, with ideals in the pursuit of which he would brook no interference. He knew what he wanted, and he went after it. This is not a book to stand alone. It needs a considerable background of the period, of his contemporaries, of the man himself. Granted that, it is an essential book for students of American literature, and a book that will lead others into deeper study of the fascinating period for which Thoreau stood. There is to be a substantial amount of advertising and promotion; the book is certain to receive lead reviews.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1939
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin