Volume two of the Journal includes Thoreau's extensive reminiscences of his 1839 excursion with his brother John along the Concord and Merrimack rivers and all his first impressions and observations entered in journals during the famous Walden sojourn. Collectively, these journals illustrate the middle stage of Thoreau's literary career--a stage noteworthy for his "devotion to the mastery of his craft" as evidenced by the progressive, intermingled drafts of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers and Walden, "Thomas Carlyle and His Works," "Wendell Phillips Before Concord Lyceum," and "Ktaadn, and the Maine Woods." More than half of the material presented in Journal 2 is previously unpublished.
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