Our Cape Cod edition is a volume from a five volume series, which includes Thoreau's famous works, such as Walden. Thoreau's trips to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, formed the basis for a series of essays, several of which Thoreau published in magazines. After Thoreau's death, the essays were gathered together and published as "Cape Cod" in 1865. Thoreau's "Cape Cod" is different in tone in theme from his earlier books. The tone is leisurely and light. Instead of solitude or the wild woods, the picture instead is of a long walk, or, as Thoreau puts it, a "ramble" through the sand and dunes. The book is picturesque, full of humour and wry observations of the ocean, in its storms, vicissitudes, and moments of peace, the fish and the fishermen and other people, birds, plants and lighthouses.
The most vivid characterization in the book is in the chapter "The Wellfleet Oysterman", as Thoreau describes a grizzled, taciturn, and ancient native of Cape Cod and his family who offer him hospitality for the night. Thoreau's walk ended at Provincetown, on the northernmost portion of Cape Cod, with its wood walkway, shanty houses, and ever-present scenes of fishermen, boats, and drying fish. Thoreau offers an affectionate portrait of these hardy fishermen and their families.
Thoreau's "Cape Cod" is a worthy companion to his other books that describe his experiences inland, on Walden Pond and on the rivers and woods of New England and Maine beautifully written with unforgettable descriptive passages.
This volume has an introduction and illustrations by Clifton Johnson. Our copy is also an ex-library edition from Surrey County Council Library, and contained marks as expected from such a library condition as photographed (small blemish on spine, stamps on the title page, remnants of return label at the back of the book). This edition is a hardback in green cloth with attractive Art Nouveau style gilt relief decoration in two colours around the titles of the book. these decorations continue on to the spine which is slightly sunned. Gilt edges to the top of the pages, which at the side and bottom are rough-cut.