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A Note on the Text

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 The work most readers know as “Civil Disobedience” didn’t appear under that title during Thoreau’s lifetime. As a lecture delivered at the Concord Lyceum on January 26, 1848, it was titled “On the Relation of the Individual to the State.” When published the following year in Elizabeth Peabody’s Aesthetic Papers, it bore the title “Resistance to Civil Government.” It first appeared as “Civil Disobedience,” four years after Thoreau’s death, in the collection A Yankee in Canada, with Anti-Slavery and Reform Papers (1866).

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 1 The 1866 text differs only slightly from that of 1849. Wendell Glick provides a full textual history in Reform Papers, a volume of The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau (Princeton University Press, 1973). Finding insufficient evidence to regard the 1866 text as authorial, Glick adopted the 1849 printing as his copy text. However, as William Rossi points out in his Norton Critical Edition, Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Other Writings (2008), subsequent scholarship lends support to the view that Thoreau approved the 1866 revisions to the text. Whether the same holds true of the revised title is unknown.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 The text presented here is that of 1849. The important differences from the 1866 text are noted in the margins at the following locations:

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 In both “Resistance to Civil Government” and “Civil Disobedience,” the paragraphs numbered here as 28-35 are offset visually from the main flow of the text.

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Source: http://commons.digitalthoreau.org/civil/a-note-on-the-text/

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