Letters and Social Aims, published in 1875, contains essays originally published early in the 1840s as well as those that were the product of a collaborative effort among Ralph Waldo Emerson, his daughter Ellen Tucker Emerson, his son Edward Waldo Emerson, and his literary executor James Eliot Cabot. The volume takes up the topics of “Poetry and Imagination,” “Social Aims,” “Eloquence,” “Resources,” “The Comic,” “Quotation and Originality,” “Progress of Culture,” “Persian Poetry,” “Inspiration,” “Greatness,” and, appropriately for Emerson’s last published book, “Immortality.”The historical introduction demonstrates for the first time the decline in Emerson’s creative powers after 1865; the strain caused by the preparation of a poetry anthology and delivery of lectures at Harvard during this time; the devastating effect of a house fire in 1872; and how the Emerson children and Cabot worked together to enable Emerson to complete the book. The textual introduction traces this collaborative process in detail and also provides new information about the genesis of the volume as a response to a proposed unauthorized British edition of Emerson’s works.Historical Introduction by Ronald A. BoscoNotes and Parallel Passages by Glen M. JohnsonText Established and Textual Introduction and Apparatus by Joel Myerson
With the appearance of the tenth and final volume of Collected Works, a project fifty years in the making reaches completion: the publication of critically edited texts of all of Emerson’s works published in his lifetime and under his supervision. The Uncollected Prose Writings is the definitive gathering of Emerson’s previously published prose writings that he left uncollected at the time of his death.The Uncollected Prose Writings supersedes the three posthumous volumes of Emerson’s prose that James Elliot Cabot and Edward Waldo Emerson added to his canon. Seeing as their primary task the expansion of the Emerson canon, they embellished and improvised. By contrast, Ronald A. Bosco and Joel Myerson have undertaken the restoration of Emerson’s uncollected prose canon, printing only what Emerson alone wrote, authorized for publication, and saw into print.In their Historical Introduction and Textual Introduction, the editors survey the sweep of Emerson’s uncollected published prose. The evidence they marshal reveals Emerson’s progressive reliance on lectures as forerunners to his published prose in major periodicals and clarifies what has been a slowly emerging portrait of the last decade and a half of his life as a public intellectual.
The forty-five sermons collected in Volume 3 were composed and first delivered between October 1830 and November 1831. During that time Emerson's first wife, Ellen Tucker Emerson, died of tuberculosis, a loss that deeply affected Emerson.
Transcribed and edited from manuscripts in Harvard's University's Houghton Library, the sermons are presented in a clear text approximating as nearly as possible the original version delivered to Emerson's congregation. As well as the detailed chronology, explanatory footnotes, and textual endnotes found in previous volumes, this one contains a comprehensive index.
The final volume of the Harvard edition presents the journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s last years. In them, he reacts to the changing America of the post–Civil War years, commenting on Reconstruction, immigration, protectionism in trade, and the dangers of huge fortunes in few hands—as well as on baseball and the possibilities of air travel. His role as a Harvard Overseer evokes his thoughts on education during crucial years of reform in American universities.His travels take him to Europe for the third time, and for the first time he encounters the new garden of California and the enigma of Egypt. He continues to lecture, and a second volume of poems and two more collections of essays, culled from his manuscripts, are published. Finally, his late journals show Emerson confronting his loss of creative vigor, husbanding his powers, and maintaining his equanimity in the face of decline.This concluding volume thus gives a complex picture of Emerson in his last sixteen years, facing old age but still the advocate of “newness” throughout the world.
Upon its completion, The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1971–2013) was hailed as a major achievement of scholarship and textual editing. Drawing from the ten volumes of the Collected Works, Ronald A. Bosco and Joel Myerson have gathered some of Emerson’s most memorable prose published during his lifetime and under his direct supervision. The editors have enhanced those selections with additional writings to produce the only anthology that represents in a single volume the full range of Emerson’s written and spoken prose genres—sermons, lectures, addresses, and essays—that took on their public life in the pulpit or lecture hall, or on the printed page.Ralph Waldo Emerson: The Major Prose demonstrates the remarkable scope of Emerson’s interests, from science, literature, art, philosophy, natural history, and religion to pressing social issues such as slavery and women’s rights, to the character of his contemporaries, including Lincoln and Thoreau. Emerson’s classic essays Nature, “Self-Reliance,” and “Experience” complement his less familiar but no less vital texts, including the deeply heterodox sermon on “The Lord’s Supper,” which effectively announced his resignation from the ministry, and late essays on “American Civilization,” “Character,” and “Works and Days.” Edited according to the most rigorous modern standards, Ralph Waldo Emerson: The Major Prose provides an authoritative compendium of writings by one of America’s most significant literary figures and public intellectuals.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, the magus of of American Transcendentalism, was an inveterate keeper of journals and notebooks, which he used as source and proving ground for his poems, lectures, and essays. This is the second in a three-volume edition that brings twelve of Emerson's topical notebooks and four other notebooks into print for the first time. These notebooks were Emerson's repositories for anecdotes, quotations, reminiscences, drafts of his poems, outlines for lectures, and observations on everything from daily life to profound cultural and philosophical issues.
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