The Critical Reception of Emerson
Title Details

249 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

Series: Studies in English and American Literature and Culture

Imprint: Camden House

The Critical Reception of Emerson

Unsettling all Things

by Sarah Ann Wider

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
A history of the most important scholarly criticism of Emerson from his time down to the present.
Since the 1820s, Ralph Waldo Emerson has provoked an unsettled response from his readers and contentiousness among critics. Critics still contest Emerson's position: Was he poet or philosopher? Did he liberate American literatureor narrow it to a one-dimensional idea? Is his signature concept of self-reliance the most profound contribution to democratic individualism or the epitome of capitalism's impoverished thought? But by the mid 20th century the swing between condemnation and celebration of Emerson had given way to the familiar story of his bisected career, which provided a neat structure for viewing his life and work, and shaped our thought about him. Now that story is beingchallenged by the application of poststructuralism and textual editing, and with the publication of an amazing repertoire of editions, the Emerson canon is changing. The result is that Emerson criticism now faces a far more complex group of writings than before. One hundred and fifty years after Emerson styled himself an 'experimenter' who would 'unsettle all things,' this new critical history illustrates the continuing, thought-provoking success of thatexperiment.

Sarah Ann Wider is Professor of English at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.
"Only Biography": Emerson's Peculiar Life
"Our Age is Retrospective": Genres of Reception
Contesting the Poet: Emerson in the Nineteenth Century
The Philosopher's Millstone: New Humanism, Modernism, and the Marxist Frontier
Emerson and the Dilemma for New Criticism
Imagining a New Emerson: The Power of the Editions
The Philosophers' Stone: Emerson Between Centuries
"This study is as much about the changing fashions of American intellectuality as it is about Emerson the writer. As readers found or lost interest in aspects of Emerson, an age was defined." CHOICE
"Wider's text models fair and generous scholarship.... It balances description and evaluation in a concise, readable style.... The chronological list of works consulted alone will prove an invaluable resource." REVIEW OF COMMUNICATION
"Wider describes the Emerson reception in the last 150 years.... Conscientious and instructive... A cultural history of academic movements, modes, and feuds..." AMERIKASTUDIEN

Hardcover

9781571131669

January 2001

Buy

£75.00 / $90.00

Shipping Options

Buy

Buy

Purchasing options are not available in this country.

Title Details

249 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

Series: Studies in English and American Literature and Culture

Imprint: Camden House