What We Are Reading Today: The Quotable Thoreau by Jeffrey S. Cramer

Updated 05 September 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: The Quotable Thoreau by Jeffrey S. Cramer

  • The Quotable Thoreau, the most comprehensive and authoritative collection of Thoreau quotations ever assembled, gathers more than 2,000 memorable passages from this iconoclastic American author

 Few writers are more quotable than Henry David Thoreau. His books, essays, journals, poems, letters, and unpublished manuscripts contain an inexhaustible treasure of epigrams and witticisms, from the famous (“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”) to the obscure (“Who are the estranged? Two friends explaining”) and the surprising (“I would exchange my immortality for a glass of small beer this hot weather”). 

The Quotable Thoreau, the most comprehensive and authoritative collection of Thoreau quotations ever assembled, gathers more than 2,000 memorable passages from this iconoclastic American author, social reformer, environmentalist, and self-reliant thinker. Including Thoreau’s thoughts on topics ranging from sex to solitude, manners to miracles, government to God, life to death, and everything in between, the book captures Thoreau’s profundity as well as his humor (“If misery loves company, misery has company enough”).  Drawing primarily on The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau, published by Princeton University Press, The Quotable Thoreau is thematically arranged, fully indexed, richly illustrated, and thoroughly documented. 

For the student of Thoreau, it will be invaluable. For those who think they know Thoreau, it will be a revelation. And for the reader seeking sheer pleasure, it will be a joy.


What We Are Reading Today: A Well-Ordered Thing by Michael D. Gordin

Updated 21 November 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: A Well-Ordered Thing by Michael D. Gordin

  • A Well-Ordered Thing is an authoritative biography of Dmitrii Mendeleev — the creator of the periodic table of elements — that draws a multifaceted portrait of his life for the first time. 

Dmitrii Mendeleev (1834–1907) is a name we recognize, but perhaps only as the creator of the periodic table of elements. Generally, little else has been known about him. A Well-Ordered Thing is an authoritative biography of Mendeleev that draws a multifaceted portrait of his life for the first time. 

As Michael Gordin reveals, Mendeleev was not only a luminary in the history of science, he was also an astonishingly wide-ranging political and cultural figure. From his attack on spiritualism to his failed voyage to the Arctic and his near-mythical hot-air balloon trip, this is the story of an extraordinary maverick. The ideals that shaped his work outside science also led Mendeleev to order the elements and, eventually, to engineer one of the most fascinating scientific developments of the nineteenth century. A Well-Ordered Thing is a classic work that tells the story of one of the world’s most important minds.

Michael D. Gordin is Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Princeton University, where he also serves as the Director of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. 

His books include Scientific Babel and Five Days in August (Princeton).