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Emerson's Life in Science: The Culture of Truth Hardcover – Illustrated, February 28, 2003

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 rating

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Editorial Reviews


"'The revelation of Thought takes man out of servitude into freedom.... The day of days, the great day of the feast of life, is that in which the inward eye opens to the Unity in things, to the omnipresence of law.' Emerson's Life in Science shows us how Emerson developed this faith."

The New England Quarterly

"Rather than a life narrative, she delivers a brilliantly associative intellectual biography, organized around central habits of nineteenth-century scientific thought: patterns of gnomic growth, polarity, evolution."

-- Lance Newman, California State University, San Marcos ― American Literature

"In Emerson's Life in Science: The Culture of Truth, Laura Dassow Walls gives a full account of Ralph Waldo Emerson's engagement with the discourses and philosophy of natural and social science. The range of Emerson's interests was very broad, extending from astronomy, physics, geology, and botany to anthropology, sociology, and statistics. In characterizing these interests, Walls maintains a judicious balance between the judgmental and the appreciative. On the one hand, she freely grants Emerson's old-fashioned propensity for enlisting science as reinforcement of a vision of cosmos and history rendered coherent by moral law; on the other hand, she also does fuller justice than any precursor has to Emerson's more avant-garde insistence that what counts as truth must be obedient to science―and to Emerson's canniness at his best as a critical interpreter of scientific claims.... Through Emerson's Life in Science, Walls encourages scholars to look more closely at Emerson's place in modern science. In trying to better define the relationship between Emerson and science―and perhaps between science, culture, and literature―Walls questions the overall place of science in Emerson's life."

Biology Digest

"The evolution of ideas on the grand scale is a fascinating problem, and Walls' exploration of Emerson, the dominant American prophet of science and technology, opens up this world for a delightful and revealing read."

New Scientist

"Emerson's Life in Science is the best: Of the spate of books on Emerson that have marked the bicentennial of his birth, this is one that will endure.... The author's command of her subject comes through unmistakably. No specialist in nineteenth-century American literature surpasses Walls in knowledge of the history of science.... Anyone wishing to know more about what science meant to Emerson should start here."

-- Lawrence Buell, Harvard University ― American Scientist

From the Inside Flap

"Emerson's Life in Science has the potential to make a significant impact on Emerson studies and on our understanding of the development of Romanticism as a whole. Laura Dassow Walls has a brilliant command of Emerson’s scientific sources and a very perceptive recognition of the centrality of science to his thought. Walls’s book should place scientific issues front and center in Emerson studies."-David M. Robinson, Oregon State University

"Emerson's Life in Science is one of the best books about Emerson to appear in the past two decades. As Laura Dassow Walls states at the outset, the notion that science, broadly understood, lies at the heart of Emerson's work is 'counterintuitive,' but she makes her case and then some. She has produced a full intellectual biography of Emerson. In its breadth of scholarship, boldness of argument, comprehensiveness, and intellectual force it is without peer. It immediately establishes Walls in the vanguard of Emerson studies."-Joel Porte, Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters, Cornell University

Product details

  • Hardcover : 296 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0801440440
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0801440441
  • Dimensions : 6.12 x 0.94 x 9.25 inches
  • Item Weight : 0.988 ounces
  • Publisher : Cornell University Press; Illustrated edition (February 28, 2003)
  • Reading level : 18 and up
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    5.0 out of 5 stars 1 rating

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