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By Robert E. Belknap

“I am not more lonely than the Mill Brook, or a weathercock, or the north famous person, or the south wind, or an April bathe, or a January thaw, or the 1st spider in a brand new house,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in Walden. In creating this checklist, and so on that seem in his writings, Thoreau was once operating inside a little-recognized but historic literary culture: the perform of directory or cataloguing. This fantastically written ebook is the 1st to ascertain literary lists and the remarkably wide selection of the way writers use them.
Robert Belknap first examines lists during the centuries—from Sumerian account pills and Homer’s catalogue of ships to Tom Sawyer’s gains from his fence-painting scheme—then specializes in lists within the works of 4 American Renaissance authors: Emerson, Whitman, Melville, and Thoreau. Lists serve numerous capabilities in Emerson’s essays, Whitman’s poems, Melville’s novels, and Thoreau’s memoirs, and Belknap discusses their extraordinary number of development, purpose, scope, paintings, or even philosophy. as well as guiding the reader throughout the list’s many makes use of, this booklet explores the pleasures that lists offer.

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