¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 “Paradise (to be) Regained,” an essay by Henry David Thoreau, was first published in November of 1843 in the United States Magazine, and Democratic Review. Thoreau originally wrote the essay at the request of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who planned to publish it in The Dial. However, Thoreau eventually submitted it to J. L. O’Sullivan of the Democratic Review, who, in fact, initially rejected the essay. “Paradise (to be) Regained” represents Thoreau’s review of J.A. Etzler’s The Paradise within the Reach of all Men, without Labor, by Powers of Nature and Machinery: An Address to all intelligent men, in two parts. In his essay, Thoreau critiques Etzler’s work for its desire to improve upon nature and render the Earth into a utopia filled with palaces and gardens. Indeed, Thoreau expresses great skepticism of technology’s ability to achieve the utopian paradise that Etzler describes. Furthermore, the essay is rife with the Thoreauvian themes of self-improvement, as Thoreau makes the overarching claim that humankind cannot control nature when its members are barely in control of themselves.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The present text of “Paradise (to be) Regained” follows the 1973 Wendell Glick edition, compiled within the Reform Papers (The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau, Princeton University Press, 1973), which uses the original 1843 United States Magazine, and Democratic Review version as its copy-text. However, Glick, the editor of the Reform Papers, also makes considerable observations regarding the 1866 version, A Yankee in Canada, with Anti-Slavery and Reform Papers in his Textual Introduction for “Paradise (to be) Regained.” The main difference between the 1843 and 1866 versions is that the latter version was subject to extreme pruning, with one-third of the text being cut. Glick selects the original 1843 version as his copy-text, despite the plethora of altered quotes from Etzler’s work, due to the lack of existing knowledge surrounding the identity and motivation of the individual who removed a third of the original text from the 1866 version. It is for this reason that “this editor has not emended them (the deletions) into the present text”(279).
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 A PDF of the original 1843 version can be accessed from the Walden Woods Project. The text was prepared by Claire Corbeaux, Elizabeth Gellman, Anthony Lyon, and Hannah Nicchi, and Avery Padula for their final project for Spring 2019’s Literature and Literature Study in the Digital Age course.