Oneida Community, Syracuse University Library, Special Collections
Arts and Humanities
" ... Here is a man who interrogates the squirrels and trees to some purpose, who does not deal with 'hearsay and old clothes. Undoubtedly, Walden is the most original, sincere and unaffected book recently issued from the press. It is woody, resinous and strong with ground-smell. There are none of the scents of roses, pinks and violets in it." This, after a long deliberation, was the opinion of the Oneida Communists concerning a famous contemporary. They published the review ten years late, in the Community Circular for March 11 th, 1864. Characteristically, they added a retroactive self-criticism. "Ten years ago Walden came before the public, but owing to unappreciative if not thoroughly hostile reviews, together with a strong suspicion on our part of its egotism and eccentricity, it failed to get our attention. It is with some humiliation that we make this confession." After that, Thoreau was rewarded with a long and favorable review of The Maine Woods, then recently issued, and three several excerpts from his other works.
Robertson, Constance Noyes, "The Perfectionist Standard : Reading and Study in the Oneida Community" (1971). The Courier. 12.