Nathaniel Hawthorne: Letter to Evert Duyckinek, 1845
As for Thoreau, there is one chance in a thousand that he might write a
most excellent and readable book; but I should be sorry to take the responsibility,
either towards you or him, of stirring him up to write anything.... He is the
most unmalleable fellow alive-the most tedious, tiresome, and intolerable-the
narrowest and most notional-and yet, true as all this is, he has great qualities
of intellect and character. The only way, however, in which he could ever approach
the popular mind, would be by writing a book of simple observation of nature,
somewhat in the vein of White's History of Selborne.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Letter to Evert Duyckinek, 1845, in F. O. Matthiessen,
American Renaissance. New York: Oxford, 1941, p. 196.