The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 第 2 卷

封面

Some of Emerson's finest and most famous essays, such as “Self-Reliance,” “Compensation,” and “The Over-Soul,” appeared in his Essays of 1841, published when he was thirty-seven years old. Preceded by the slim volume Nature, it was his first full-length book.

The present edition provides for the first time an authoritative text of the Essays, together with an introduction, notes, and supplementary material of great value for the study of Emerson's creative processes. A list of hundreds of parallel passages in his earlier journals and lectures makes it possible to examine in detail how he drew upon those manuscripts (now published), especially the voluminous journals, as grist for the twelve essays. His subsequent alterations of the essays, particularly in the revised edition of 1847, give evidence of the evolution of his thought and style at this stage of his career. While the text incorporates his revisions, so as to represent his final intention, the earlier versions are given at the end of the book.

Introduction and Notes by Joseph Slater
Text Established by Alfred R. Ferguson and Jean Ferguson Carr

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Historical Introduction
xiii
Statement of Editorial Principles
xxxiv
History
1
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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.

Alfred R. Ferguson (1915-1974) was Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

The late professor Joseph Slater was General Editor of the Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson until 1996.

Jean Ferguson Carr is Associate Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, where she writes and teaches in composition, women's studies, history of the book, literacy, and literary studies, focusing on nineteenth-century American constructions of literacy and letters.

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