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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.

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