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.
Picturing Emerson reproduces and explores the background of all known images of Ralph Waldo Emerson created from life, including drawings, paintings, silhouettes, sculptures, and photographs. The book provides dates for these images; information about their makers and Emerson’s sittings; as well as commentary by family members and contemporaries. The resulting work makes it possible for the first time to trace Emerson’s visage over seven decades.Dating and correctly identifying images of Emerson has long challenged scholars, collectors, and the general public. By examining over fifty years of archival and published research—including web resources, library catalogs, and correspondence with international collections—the authors have been able to locate nearly 140 images dating from 1829 to immediately before Emerson’s death in 1882.Joel Myerson has written or edited over sixty books on Emerson and the Transcendentalists, most recently Ralph Waldo Emerson: The Major Prose with Ronald A. Bosco. They have jointly received the Julian P. Boyd Award, the highest award presented by the Association for Documentary Editing. Leslie Perrin Wilson is a curator at the Concord Free Public Library, a repository known for significant holdings of Emerson portraiture. She has written extensively on local historical and literary topics.
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.
Few American writers were as concerned with their public image as was Walt Whitman. He praised his own work in unsigned reviews; he included engravings or photographs of himself in numerous editions of his work; and he assisted in the writing of two biographies of himself. Whitman was also written about extensively by others throughout his lifetime. Whitman in His Own Time is a collection of these contemporary accounts of the "good gray poet."
The interviews with and recollections of Whitman collected by Joel Myerson represent a wide spectrum of accounts—visitors from America and abroad; newspaper interviewers; Whitman's doctor and nurse during his final illness; his literary executors; a student from his early schoolteaching days; and such well-known authors as Bronson Alcott, John Burroughs, and Henry David Thoreau. The selections also paint a well-rounded picture of Whitman, from his early days as a schoolteacher to the moment of his death, and demonstrate a varying range of attitudes toward the poet. Yet throughout the entire collection, Whitman himself holds center stage, and he is seen as vividly today as he was over one hundred years ago. Myerson's introduction to this expanded edition places these accounts of Whitman within the context of the time and discusses new scholarship on Whitman's life.
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