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Barry S. Cohen Prize Paper (A. Kronman, D. Grewal) (paper on a subject related to literature and the law)


Upon the tenth anniversary of their graduation from Harvard University, the members of the Harvard class of 1837 were sent a survey asking them to state, among other things, their current occupation. One member of this class, Henry David Thoreau, undoubtedly encountered this request while in a peculiar frame of mind. Thoreau responded to the survey on September 30, 1847, less than four weeks after he had left the small home he had occupied for two years at Walden Pond. Once again a “sojourner in civilized life,” Thoreau responded to his alma mater by listing no less than thirteen different occupations. “I am a Schoolmaster,” Thoreau explained, “a Private Tutor, a Surveyor—a Gardener, a Farmer—a Painter, I mean a House Painter, a Carpenter, a Mason, a Day-Laborer, a Pencil-Maker, a Glass-paper Maker, a Writer, and sometimes a Poetaster.”

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