A page from Thoreau’s Journal
This is a page from Thoreau’s Journal, scanned from a copy of the original volume held at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York. It startles me a bit to see the sketch of a familiar object like an acorn embedded in text that looks all but incomprehensible.
It’s a testament to the quality of the Journal that Bradford Torrey and Francis Allen were willing to decipher all two million words of it, then edit it for publication in the 1906 edition.
Today a team of editors at Princeton are revisiting the Journal for an annotated scholarly edition that has already taken longer to produce than the 24 years Thoreau spent writing it in the first place. Volume 1 appeared in 1981, Volume 8 is the most recent, and there is still a long way to go.