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He entertained visitors and made regular trips to town; friends and neighbors began to inquire about his life at the pond. A Week was not well received by the public, however, and only two hundred copies of it sold in the first few years after its publication. When publisher James Munroe returned the unsold copies to him in 1853, Thoreau wrote in a journal entry for October 28, 1853, "I have now a library of nearly 900 volumes over 700 of which I wrote myself--" Considering the failure of A Week, publishers were not enthusiastic about Walden, and plans for its publication were postponed.
He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.
In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.
In the 1890s a group of admirers who had not known Thoreau personally but who had been affected by his writings began actively to promote him.
One of the first substantial biographies of Thoreau, The Life of Henry David Thoreau, was published by an Englishman, Henry Salt, in 1890.
The Princeton Edition of Walden was published in 1971.
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I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. (Walden, 323- 324) In 1849, Thoreau's house at Walden Pond was removed from its site; parts of it were incorporated into other structures around Concord, including a barn near Estabrook Woods.
Ten years after Thoreau's death in 1862, in a spontaneous tribute to the writer and philosopher, visitors to the pond began placing rocks, flowers, and twigs in a cairn on a spot near where the house had been.
In July 1941, the Thoreau Society of America was founded at a meeting in Concord.
Still active today, the Thoreau Society's purpose is "to honor Henry David Thoreau, by stimulating interest in and fostering education about his life, works, and philosophy and his place in his world and ours, by coordinating research on his life and writings, and by acting as a repository for Thoreauviana and material relevant to Henry David Thoreau, and by advocating for the preservation of Thoreau Country." Thoreau's popularity continued: six editions of Walden were published in 1948, eleven in 1958, and twenty-three in 1968, along with many editions of his other works.