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Borders in the English-Speaking World

Sandrine Baudry
Hélène Ibata
Monica Manolescu


Writing Without Borders? Thoreau’s Remapping of Borders Through Language

Julien Nègre

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Henry David Thoreau started working as a professional surveyor in 1849, a few years after his sojourn at Walden Pond (Chura 2010, 73). The job allowed him to make a living while spending most of his time outside, walking around his native village of Concord, Massachusetts. 165 manuscript plans drawn by Thoreau throughout the 1850s and until his death in 1862 are kept today at the Concord Free Public Library and attest to his skill and meticulousness. As a surveyor whose main task was to inscribe property lines, Thoreau knew a lot about how borders and lines of separation are marked upon the land and mapped. In 1851, for example, he was tasked by the elected “selectmen” of Concord with the “perambulation” of the town—an old official duty dating back to the late-17th century that required town officials to literally walk along the town limits every five years to ascertain the location and the presence of stone markers. This familiarity with borders and lines of separation parallels wh...

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