Material to Mythology

Patrick Chura

in Thoreau the Land Surveyor

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780813034935
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038278 | DOI:
Material to Mythology

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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This chapter discusses Henry David Thoreau's surveying career. To analyze nineteenth-century land surveying is to study Henry Thoreau's primary nonliterary pursuit, an activity that took up a large portion of his adult life. Thoreau actually made the Walden survey, a three-dimensional pond map that is now one of the most important images in American literary history. The pond survey was a rare type of work, an experiential episode in Thoreau's life the processes of which are now somewhat hard to imagine.

Keywords: Henry Thoreau; land surveyor; Walden survey; pond map; surveying equipment; spatial relationship; coordinates

Chapter.  7676 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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