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The New Walden

Contributed by Matt Steel on Feb 24th, 2016. Artwork published in .
    Source: © Matt Steel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    A new hardcover edition of Thoreau’s masterpiece. The original text, annotated for a modern reading experience. Beautifully designed & illustrated. Hardcover, organic cloth, foil stamped on front, back, and spine. Ribbon bookmark, custom endpapers. Printed on Munken Lynx Rough.

    The entire book will be typeset in Lyon, using the Display and Text weights.

    More on the live Kickstarter page.

    License: All Rights Reserved.
    License: All Rights Reserved.

    Close-up of the dedication page.

    License: All Rights Reserved.

    We’ve arranged this new edition in four sections or "books," corresponding to the four seasons that are catalogued throughout Walden. Here’s the first spread of part one.

    The book will feature full-color illustrations, marbled endpapers, and marbled pull quote pages by the wonderful artist Brooks Salzwedel.

    License: All Rights Reserved.

    Here’s the opening spread for chapter one. In Thoreau’s original text, the first chapter, Economy, is nearly 25% of the entire book. We’ve broken it down into five smaller chapters for easier digestion and a more uniform pace. This yields a total of 22 chapters, all of which are now of similar length.

    License: All Rights Reserved.

    Footnotes and endnotes can be cumbersome and frustrating. Nobody wants to hunt with one eye and read with the other. Instead, our annotations are designed as side notes which hang in the margins next to the passage in reference. Right there when you need them, unobtrusive when you don’t.

    You may be wondering, “Um, people have published annotated versions of Walden before. Why on earth do we need yet another one?” Yes, there are already (abundantly, copiously) annotated editions out there, and all of the ones I’ve seen are superbly researched. I could never do a better job in that category. But these other editions are more difficult to navigate than they need to be, employing superscripts leading to notes that the reader must search for like a kid at an Easter egg hunt. Notes are often relegated to the footer or the ends of chapters, or even the very end of the book. Even the one or two editions with friendlier side margins are tough to follow after several pages, because the main text and notes become separated.

    License: All Rights Reserved.

    Our annotations will track with the text so you don’t have to search for them. They will elucidate the archaic words and idioms in Walden, as well as the cultural, historical, and literary references that Thoreau uses to embellish and connect his thoughts. And when untranslated Latin appears in the text, we will include the English translation in the margins.

    License: All Rights Reserved.

    We're including a new section of prose poems at the end, paired by theme. We think Thoreau’s best poetry was hidden in his prose, and these selections from Walden are presented at the end of the book in order to highlight their lyrical beauty.

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.


    • Lyon




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    2 Comments on “The New Walden

    1. Matt Steel says:
      Feb 24th, 2016  11:51 pm

      Here’s a big update since I posted this: after receiving excellent feedback from the literary community and reflecting on how best to help keep Walden evergreen, we decided to change the scope of the project. We are now creating a new edition of the original text, with annotations tailored for today’s reader. Archaisms defined, mythology elucidated, Latin translated.

      This new direction won’t have annotations as in-depth as those of Jeffrey Cramer’s 150th anniversary edition. That particular version is excellent for scholarly study, but a bit overwhelming for the lay reader. Our annotations are presented as side-notes aligned to the corresponding baselines.

      Our edition will also be unique in its inclusion of prose poems at the end, which will be paired by theme.

    2. Matt Steel says:
      Feb 29th, 2016  10:45 pm

      (I just updated the image to reflect the above update.)

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