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This lively volume explores the theme of friendship in the lives and works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Written from diverse perspectives, the essays offer close readings of selected texts and draw on letters and journals to offer a comprehensive view of how Emerson's and Thoreau's friendships took root and bolstered their individual political, social, and ethical projects. This collection explores how Emerson and Thoreau, in their own ways, conceived of friendship as the creation of shared meaning in light of personal differences, tragedy and loss, and changing life circumstances. Emerson and Thoreau presents important reflections on the role of friendship in the lives of individuals and in global culture.
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John T. Lysaker is Professor and Head of Philosophy at the University of Oregon. He is author of Emerson and Self-Culture (IUP, 2008).
William Rossi is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in English at the University of Oregon. He is editor of Walden and Resistance to Civil Government and several volumes of Thoreau's works, including Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Other Writings and Journal, volumes 3 and 6.Review:
"Emerson, Thoreau, and the Transcendentalists had a lot more to say about friendship than is generally thought, and this is a good point of departure for these new readings." -- Robert F. Sayre, University of Iowa
"Addresses an issue -- friendship -- that is of crucial importance to the ethical and social visions of Emerson and Thoreau." -- James M. Albrecht, Pacific Lutheran University
Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, the two giants of American transcendentalism, enjoyed a friendship that was both positive and negative. They had mutual intellectual interests, liked and admired each other, and shared many of life experiences. But their friendship was also challenged by personal rivalries, disappointments, and misunderstandings--which is to say that their friendship mirrored the friendships that many experience. Lysaker (philosophy, Univ. of Oregon) and Rossi (English, Univ. of Oregon) believe that by studying Thoreau and Emerson's unique friendship and also their writing on the subject of friendship one can learn much about the mysterious and sometimes contradictory elements that tie all humans in friendship. Released in the 'American Philosophy' series, this book comprises nine essays by scholars from a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, English, education, and religion. Divided into four sections--'Transcendental Contexts,' 'Emerson's "Friendship,"' 'Thoreau's Divergent Melodies,' and 'Giving Friendship for Life'--the essays interpret various aspects and characteristics of the bond that the two men shared. Close examination of their written essays, letters, and journals does in fact enrich understanding of what the two men experienced. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. -- ChoiceP. J. Ferlazzo, Northern Arizona University, September 2010
"Emerson & Thoreau: Figures of Friendship... offers compelling biographical background on [Emerson and Thoreau's] famous friendship, as well as insightful scholarship on their main writings about friendship: Emerson's essay 'Friendship,' and the 'Wednesday' section of Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849).... The book's aspiration is to be that rare hybrid: an academic work urgent enough to change a reader's life.... In both Emerson and Thoreau's thinking, friendship is indispensable in bringing about our better selves: our flourishing cannot occur without the challenges and opportunities for growth our friends provide us." -- Scott Parker, Philosophy Now, #80 2010
"Lysaker and Rossi believe that by studying Thoreau and Emerson's unique friendship and also their writing on the subject of friendship one can learn much about the mysterious and sometimes contradictory elements that tie all humans in friendship.... Close examination of their written essays, letters, and journals does in fact enrich understanding of what the two men experienced.... Recommended." -- Choice
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Book Description Indiana University P, 2010. Condition: Brand New. Seller Inventory # a25281