Emerson's Literary Criticism

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University of Nebraska Press, 1979 - American literature - 251 pages
Ralph Waldo Emerson has always fascinated students of criticism and of American literature and thought. Emerson& ’ s Literary Criticism supplies the continuing need for an anthology. This collection brings together Emerson& ’ s literary criticism from a wide variety of sources. Eric W. Carlson has culled both the major statements of Emerson's critical principles and many secondary observations that illuminate them. Here are more than sixty selections on thirty-five critical topics. Headnotes provide valuable background. Carlson relates Emerson& ’ s critical principles to his philosophy, social thought, and literary milieu, and also to biographical details. Intended for the student as well as the researcher, this book amply illustrates Alfred Kazin's contention that Ralph Waldo Emerson was "one of the shrewdest critics who ever lived."

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Emerson's literary criticism

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Editor Carlson gathered this selection of Emerson's literary criticism in 1979. The great poet here ruminates on "Art as Experience," "The Creative Process," "Writers and Books," and more. Read full review

Contents

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
ix
Beauty 1836
3
The Poet
24
Copyright

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About the author (1979)

Known primarily as the leader of the philosophical movement transcendentalism, which stresses the ties of humans to nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and essayist, was born in Boston in 1803. From a long line of religious leaders, Emerson became the minister of the Second Church (Unitarian) in 1829. He left the church in 1832 because of profound differences in interpretation and doubts about church doctrine. He visited England and met with British writers and philosophers. It was during this first excursion abroad that Emerson formulated his ideas for Self-Reliance. He returned to the United States in 1833 and settled in Concord, Massachusetts. He began lecturing in Boston. His first book, Nature (1836), published anonymously, detailed his belief and has come to be regarded as his most significant original work on the essence of his philosophy of transcendentalism. The first volume of Essays (1841) contained some of Emerson's most popular works, including the renowned Self-Reliance. Emerson befriended and influenced a number of American authors including Henry David Thoreau. It was Emerson's practice of keeping a journal that inspired Thoreau to do the same and set the stage for Thoreau's experiences at Walden Pond. Emerson married twice (his first wife Ellen died in 1831 of tuberculosis) and had four children (two boys and two girls) with his second wife, Lydia. His first born, Waldo, died at age six. Emerson died in Concord on April 27, 1882 at the age of 78 due to pneumonia and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.

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