[THOREAU, Henry David (1817-1862), his copy]. CHANNING, William Ellery (1727-1827). Discoursees, Reviews, and Miscellanies. Boston: Carter and Hendee, 1830.
4° (252 x 155 mm). (Title-page with 1 1/2 in. strip at top and rectangular section at center excised.) Publisher’s cloth, printed paper label on spine (upper cover detaching, a few leaves, including signed flyleaf, loose or detached). Provenance: Rock Bottom Library Association, Massachusetts (discreet stamp in the bottom margin on a few leaves).
A SUPERB VOLUME FROM THOREAU’S LIBRARY LINKING TWO IMPORTANT TRANSCENDENTAL FIGURES
THOREAU’S COPY, SIGNED BY HIM on the flyleaf: “D.H. Thoreau Cambridge June –37”, and owned by Thoreau during his Harvard years. William Ellery Channing was “the most admired and influential theologian of Unitarianism of the early 19th century…as a minister, cultural critic, and reformer, [he] had a signal impact on the spiritual and intellectual development of Ralph Waldo Emerson and the emergence of the New England Transcendantalist movement...His ideas were central to the [Transcendentalist] movement as they were developed more fully” (Dr. Tiffany Wayne, Encyclopedia of Transcendentalism, pp. 39-41). “Thoreau and the Transcendentalist movement in New England grew up together. Thoreau was nineteen years old when Emerson published Nature, an essay that articulates the philosophical underpinnings of the movement. Transcendentalism began as a radical religious movement, opposed to the rationalist, conservative institution that Unitarianism had become” (Elizabeth Witherell and Elizabeth Dubrulle, Life and Times of Henry David Thoreau). Channing’s philosophy had the greatest effect on Ralph Waldo Emerson, the father of the Transcendentalist movement; in 1837, Emerson befriended Thoreau, and as their relationship developed, he would have a great influence over him as a friend and mentor. Thoreau was, in fact, well-acquainted with many members of the Channing family. Edward Tyrrel channing, William Ellery’s brother, would have great influence over Thoreau and his early development as a writer at Harvard, where he was Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory. William Ellery Channing “II,” William Ellery Channing’s nephew, was one of Thoreau’s closest friends and his first biographer.
Almost immediately following Thoreau’s death, books from his library were dispersed to a number of different recipients. See Walter Harding: Thoreau’s Library, Charlottesville, 1957. p.40; “A New Checklist of the Books in Henry David Thoreau’s Library”, in Studies in the American Renaissance, p. 158 (this copy). [Laid in:] a letter from Walter Harding to a previous owner thanking him for sharing information about the whereabouts of this volume dated 10 June 1963.