The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks
1848-51 v. 11
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Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Book DescriptionLike Goethe, Emerson wanted to be the cultural historian and interpreter of his age--its business, politics, discoveries. The journals and notebooks included in this volume and covering in depth the years 1848 to 1851 reflect Emerson's preoccupations with the events of these often turbulent years in America.On his return to Concord from his successful lecture trip to England and visit to Paris in 1847-1848, Emerson resumed his familiar life of writer, thinker, and lecturer. Impressions of his recent European travels appear in passages in this volume which are used later in "English Traits" (1856). He writes of technological and scientific discoveries in America and abroad--one of which, the discovery of ether, was to involve his brother-in-law in legal embroilment. He ponders the meaning, for "the age" or "the times," of reports on the Dew textile mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts, of faster steamers daily breaking records, of new geological and paleontological findings, of theories of race, and many other matters that were coming increasingly to the fore in the mid-nineteenth century. Many passages on these topics, used first in lectures, later appear in his essays "Fate," "Wealth," and "Power" in "Conduct of Life" (1860). He was also adding to his critical biographies for Representative Men (1850), with special attention to Swedenborg, always a source of particular interest for Emerson.Between 1850 and 1853, Emerson traveled farther west to lecture than he had hitherto ventured--to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and many other cities in the midwest. One notebook in the present volume records his customary percipient observations of places and people encountered during these western trips.The tragic drowning of Margaret Fuller Ossoli and her family on her return from Italy in 1850 prompted Emerson to consider a collaboration on her life and writings, and another notebook printed here contains her memorabilia, including original entries by Emerson. "Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli" by Emerson, William Henry Charming, and James Freeman Clarke was published in 1852.Passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850 brought to a boil something in Emerson that had long been simmering. Concerned with slavery, freedom, and the future of the black population in America more than his public record had shown, he now delivered himself of an outburst--pained, vitriolic, ironic--a more sustained response to a single issue than appears elsewhere in all his journals. In this latest move in a compounding national tragedy he could see only chicanery and deterioration, the crumbling of America's moral fiber. He saw the Fugitive Slave Law in a larger context of a sick age; like Tennyson and Arnold in England, he lamented in moods of spite and chagrin the loss of faith and of an old world where political men of honor stood firm for the moral law. Most of his journal outburst went into his addresses "The Fugitive Slave Law," 1851 and 1854.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780674484740
(235mm x 155mm x 44mm)
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 1-Jul-1976
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Hardback (September 2015)
Ralph Waldo Emerson: The Major Poetry presents a selection of definitively edited texts that remind us why Emerson s poetry matters and why he remains one of our most important theoreticians of verse. Drawn chiefly from the multivolume Collected Works, each poem is accompanied by a headnote for the student and general reader."
Portable Emerson, Paperback (December 2014)
Through his writing and his own personal philosophy, the author unburdened his young country of Europe's traditional sense of history and showed Americans how to be creators of their own contexts. This book deals with his story.
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Essays: First and Second Series, Paperback / softback (October 2014)View all books by Ralph Waldo Emerson
This major new volume offers a wide selection of works from Emerson's lectures and essays, including some that have seldom been reprinted such as "Quotation and Originality." In addition, leading Emerson critic Richard Poirier provides helpful annotations to a generous selection of poems.
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Author Biography - Ralph Waldo Emerson
A. W. Plumstead is professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. William H. Gilman is professor of English at the University of Rochester. Ruth H. Bennett has been Research Associate for this edition for seventeen years.
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