Emerson's Ghosts: Literature, Politics, and the Making of Americanists

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9780199752010: Emerson's Ghosts: Literature, Politics, and the Making of Americanists
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It is increasingly commonplace to find scholars who circle back to Ralph Waldo Emerson and his intellectual heirs as a way of better understanding contemporary social and aesthetic contexts. Why does Emerson's cultural legacy continue to influence writers so forcefully? In this innovative study, Randall Fuller examines the way pivotal twentieth-century critics have understood and deployed Emerson as part of their own larger projects aimed at reconceiving America. He examines previously unpublished material and original research on Van Wyck Brooks, Perry Miller, F.O. Matthiessen, and Sacvan Bercovitch along with other supporting thinkers. An engaging institutional history of American literary studies in the twentieth century, Emerson's Ghosts reveals the unexpected convergent forces that have shaped American cultural history in lasting ways.

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About the Author:


Randall Fuller is Associate Professor of English at Drury University. He is the author of From Battlefields Rising and the coeditor of The Business of Reflection: Hawthorne in His Notebooks.

Review:


"Emerson's Ghosts uses the beacon of America's exemplary intellectual to cast sharp new light on the tragic careers of later American scholars. Its case studies embrace both public intellectuals and professors who helped to define what we do when we do American Studies. Deeply researched, eloquently written, and without cant, this book establishes Randall Fuller as someone to hear more from."--Jonathan Arac, University of Pittsburgh


"This work will surely hold an important place in the future of Emerson studies as powerful encouragement to continue approaching Emerson and his work from new critical perspectives. Emerson's Ghosts strongly testifies to Emerson's unfading importance in the study of America and its culture."--Emerson Society Papers


"Randall Fuller presents a lucid, persuasive, and concise analysis of Emerson's political and literary maturation and his recognition of the creative, and potentially liberating, tensions between thought and action, language and reality, aesthetics and history. . . This is an important and exciting accomplishment."--Emory Elliott, University of California, Riverside


"There is much to admire in Emerson's Ghosts." --New England Quarterly


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