"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."
An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man," Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote--and in this book, the leading scholar of New England literary culture looks at the long shadow Emerson himself has cast, and at his role and significance as a truly American institution. On the occasion of Emerson's 200th birthday, Lawrence Buell revisits the life of the nation's first public intellectual and discovers how he became a "representative man."
My Friend, My Friend: The Story of Thoreau's Relationship With Emerson
(Harmon D. Smith)
Henry David Thoreau was a twenty-year-old scholarship student at Harvard when he met Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1837. Emerson, fourteen years Thoreau's senior and independently wealthy, had recently shaken the intellectual world of New England with the publication of Nature. Despite the disparity in their circumstances, Thoreau and Emerson quickly formed a close relationship that lasted until Thoreau's death at the age of forty-four. This book tells the story of their friendship. Harmon Smith emphasizes their personal bond, but also shows how their relationship affected their thought and writing, and was in turn influenced by their careers.
Without Emerson's interest and support, it is unlikely that Thoreau could have expended the energy on writing that enabled him to achieve greatness. By inviting Thoreau into his home to live during two different periods in the 1840s, Emerson effectively made Thoreau "one of the family." He provided him with work, lent him money, and allowed him to build a cabin on the shore of Walden Pond. Emerson also broadened Thoreau's horizon immeasurably by introducing him to an ever-widening circle of friends and colleagues.
Although the bond between Thoreau and Emerson was strong, their needs were often greatly at variance. While this led to a prolonged period of estrangement between them, they were ultimately able to reconcile their differences. Many years after Thoreau died, Emerson could look back over his long life and say that Henry had been his best friend. Since the thoughts and feelings of the two men are so well documented in their journals and letters, Smith is able to trace the pattern of their emotional involvement in great detail. What emerges is both a remarkable portrait of their relationship and an intimate look at the nature of friendship itself.
"Smith brings Thoreau, Emerson, and many others in their circle alive as rounded characters and sets them in the context of their times. His emphasis upon personal rather than intellectual relations between Thoreau and Emerson allows us to understand each man and his writing in a fresh way."--Shaun O'Connell, author of Imagining Boston: A Literary Landscape
Ralph Waldo Emerson : Collected Poems and Translations
(Ralph Waldo Emerson; Harold Bloom, editor; Paul Kane, editor
The most comprehensive collection ever assembled gathers every poem Emerson published during his lifetime along with the best of the unpublished verse from his manuscripts, journals, and notebooks to offer readers for the first time the full range of his astonishing poetry. Includes poems hitherto available only in specialized scholarly versions, as well as revealing translations of mystical, sensuous Persian poems and of Dante's "Vita Nuova."
Ralph Waldo Emerson : Essays and Lectures
(Ralph Waldo Emerson; Joel Porte, editor)
The Library of America is an award-winning, nonprofit program dedicated to publishing America's best and most significant writing in handsome, enduring volumes, featuring authoritative texts. Hailed as "the most important book-publishing project in the nation's history" (Newsweek), this acclaimed series is restoring America's literary heritage in "the finest-looking, longest-lasting edition ever made" (New Republic).
Ralph Waldo Emerson : The Making of A Democratic Intellectual
(Peter S. Field
In this original and fascinating book, Peter S. Field argues that Ralph Waldo Emerson is America's first democratic intellectual. Field contends that Emerson was a democrat in two senses: his writings are imbued with an optimistic, confident ethos, and more importantly, he acted the part of the democrat by bringing culture to all Americans. Despite an intellectual inheritance grounded in Federalist-Unionist elitism, Emerson embraced American democracy. His uniqueness, energy, and essential originality stemmed from his attempt to apply his high cultural education to an increasingly egalitarian society. In "Ralph Waldo Emerson", Peter Field connects Emerson and his remarkable creativity to the key political issue of the day: the nature of democracy and the role of intellectuals within a democratic society. This book will be of great value to American historians interested in the social and intellectual history of democracy.
The Cambridge Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Joel Porte, editor)and Saundra Morris, editor)
The Cambridge Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson is intended to provide a critical introduction to Emerson's work. The tradition of American literature and philosophy as we know it at the end of the twentieth century was largely shaped by Emerson's example and practice. This volume offers students, scholars, and the general reader a collection of fresh interpretations of Emerson's writing, milieu, influence, and cultural significance. All essays are newly commissioned for this volume, written at an accessible yet challenging level, and augmented by a comprehensive chronology and bibliography.