- Series: Library of America
- Paperback: 1376 pages
- Publisher: Library of America; 1st Library of America college ed edition (May 1, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1883011329
- ISBN-13: 978-1883011321
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 2 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,497,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ralph Waldo Emerson : Essays & Poems (Library of America College Editions) Paperback – May 1, 1996
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Emerson inspired Nietzsche, which is enough of a recommendation. That both failed to live up to their individualist ideals says all that needs to be said of the philosophy in itself, but the utterly beautiful prose style, and the respect for prose as a medium of inspiration, is the keenest glimmering from the nineteenth century I can think of. Emerson was, I think, wrong about most of what he wrote about, especially the factual truth of transcendental possibility, but his descriptions of such illusions are the most artistic around, and his earnestness is sweet.
This combination of two L of A editions (Essays and Poems are published separately) creates a book that can be your daily bread. This is essential Emerson at your fingertips. The actual book is voluminous yet not cumbersome--and though thick, it handles easily and wears well--perfect for compulsive thumbing through.
Here are some of my favorite books about Emerson, biographical and critical: "Emerson: The Mind on Fire" by Robert D. Richardson is by far my favorite biography (it is still said that the work by Ralph Rusk is the definitive "factual" bio); Bloom's work is peppered with essays on Emerson, "Agon" is a nice collection as is "Figures of Capable Imagination"; Richard Poirier writes with a constant eye toward Emerson ("The Renewal of Literature", "Poetry and Pragmatism") as does Stanley Cavel ("Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome", "This New Yet Unapproachable America"); and I really like a book by Mark Edmundson called "Towards Reading Freud : Self-Creation in Milton, Wordsworth, Emerson, and Sigmund Freud". And there are hundreds of critical studies (probably thousands) to consult--the classic being Stephen Whicher's "Freedom and Fate" (but I like Jonathan Bishop's "Emerson on the Soul" better).
Enough rambling. Emerson continues to be startling at every turn--you may think you know him ("Hitch your wagon to a star", "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" etc.), but he will not be penned in.