By Joel Myerson

ISBN-10: 0195120930

ISBN-13: 9780195120936

There isn't any query that Emerson has maintained his position as one of many seminal figures in American heritage and literature. In his time, he was once the said chief of the Transcendentalist flow and his poetic legacy, schooling beliefs, and spiritual innovations are essential to the formation of yank highbrow existence. during this quantity, Joel Myerson, one of many major specialists in this interval, has accumulated jointly glowing new essays that debate Emerson as a made from his occasions. person chapters offer a longer biographical learn of Emerson and his impression on American existence, through reports of his proposal of individualism, nature and normal technological know-how, faith, antislavery, and women's rights.

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Additional resources for A Historical Guide to Ralph Waldo Emerson (Historical Guides to American Authors)

Sample text

M]y journals," he wrote to Carlyle on 30 June 1840, "which I dot here at home day by day, are full of disjointed dreams, audacities, unsystematic irresponsible lampoons of systems, and all manner of rambling reveries, the poor drupes and berries I find in my basket after endless and aimless rambles in woods and pastures. I ask constantly . . whether life may not be poetic as well as stupid" (CEC, p. 272). The challenge before him in 1835 was to bring order to the formlessness of the words he had been gathering; they required a unifying theme, a unifying vision, to hold them together before they could achieve a degree of finality in print.

If the disparities of talent and position vanish . . even more swiftly the seeming in- A Brief Biography 39 justice disappears, when we ascend to the central identity of all the individuals, and know that they are made of the substance which ordaineth and doeth. The genius of humanity is the right point of view of history. The qualities abide; the men who exhibit them have now more, now less, and pass away. . No experience is more familiar. Once you saw phoenixes: they are gone: the world is not therefore disenchanted.

His attack on the forms of religion was an old complaint; when 26 Ralph Waldo Emerson he said, "Miracles, prophecy, poetry, the ideal life, the holy life, exists as ancient history merely; they are not in the [true] belief, nor in the aspiration of society; but . . seem ridiculous" (CW, 1:80), he was expounding on the teachings of German Higher Criticism about which he had preached earlier in the decade and enlarging on the issue of conscience that had occasioned his resignation from the pulpit in 1832.

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