Emerson for the Twenty-First Century: Global Perspectives on an American Icon

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9781611491456: Emerson for the Twenty-First Century: Global Perspectives on an American Icon

While previous collections of Emerson essays have tended to be a sort of 'stock-taking' or 'retrospective' look at Emerson scholarship, the present collection follows a more 'prospective' trajectory for Emerson studies based on the recent increase in global perspectives in nearly all fields of humanistic studies. The present collection is divided into four main sections: "Emerson, Europe, and Beyond;" "Emerson and Science;" "Emerson Thinking;" "and "Emerson and Activism." The first category emphasizes the global perspective in Emerson's literary and cultural relations, followed closely by two other "transnational" categories - Emerson's relations in the international arenas of science and philosophy - and concluding with the final category, which addresses the end purpose of Emerson's project: fully realized human beings whose actions, directly and indirectly, help to create a society in which individuals are free to develop their capacities fully.

Transnational and global perspectives are becoming more recognized and more commonplace in the academy and the world at large. Evidence for such developing perspectives is not hard to find: national and international conferences, new books, and the increasing university courses and programs in World Literature, all reflect a move toward viewing Emerson and literature in general from broader, more inclusive perspectives. The first four categories that follow - "Emerson, Europe, and Beyond" - gives us seven perspectives on Emerson's international influence, ranging from Stephen L. Tanner's gem-like essay on English Traits, to Steve Adisasmito-Smith's trail-blazing Hindu scholarship, to Jan Stievermann's explication of Emerson's vision of "an American World Literature."

In the "Emerson and Science" section, four essays range from Michael P. Branch's examination of Emerson's early lectures on natural science, to Branka Arsic's explorations of science from a broad Emersonian view, to David M. Robinson's and Laura Walls' very specific essays on Emerson's encounters with the cutting-edge science of his mature period.

In "Emerson Thinking," five scholars examine Emerson's broad thought, which gives evidence of philosophical influence from all times and places through suck topics as human subjectivity and its expression, while George J. Stack and Mary DiMaria examine Emerson's philosophical similarities to and disparities from the French foundational thinkers of the Postmodern theory revolution in literary studies. Finally, in the "Emerson and Activism" section, David S. Reynolds, Len Gougeon, and T. Gregory Garvey examine Emersonian and Transcendental influences on the abolition movement, and Eduardo Cadava expands activism to include more recent "economic oppression and colonialist and racist exclusions," which ultimately can be seen as part of a worldwide post-colonial literary movement and an awareness of the dark side of globalism. All of these essays to a greater or lesser degree are concerned with influences of literature and thought that are cycled through the individual, the culture, and the global community.

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About the Author:

Barry Tharaud is chair of the Department of English at Fatih University, Istanbul.

Review:

This collection of twenty essays examines the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson from a global perspective. Organized into four parts, the essays consider Emerson's work in relation to Europe and the world, science, philosophy, and activism. An introduction provides a thorough description of each essay as well as an overview of trends in Emerson studies. Abstracts of each essay are also included in a separate section. Contributors are English professors from the US, Germany, and Morocco. This collection will appeal to advanced students of Emerson and others interested in transcendental philosophy, as the selections included offer complex and in depth analysis of many of Emerson's major themes. (Book News, Inc.)

The purpose of this collection is both to predict and to influence the direction of Emersonian scholarship in the present century. For these complementary purposes, Tharaud (Dogus Univ., Istanbul) has grouped 20 essays from established and emerging scholars into four categories: "Emerson, Europe, and Beyond," "Emerson and Science," "Emerson Thinking," and "Emerson and Activism." It is certainly successful in capturing and advancing many of the most relevant trends. The resulting effect is another nail in the coffin of the Emerson known for the better part of the 20th century: the literary nationalist par excellence wholly absorbed in mystical musings and detached from practical social and political action. In his place emerges an Emerson deeply influenced by and influential in transnational networks of contemporary science, philosophy, and social activism. Most of the essays are very good, and many are flat-out excellent in their capacity to re-vision Emerson and his work in exciting new ways. No serious Emerson collection should be without this book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. (CHOICE)

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Book Description University of Delaware Press, United States, 2010. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 236 x 155 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. While previous collections of Emerson essays have tended to be a sort of stock-taking or retrospective look at Emerson scholarship, the present collection, divided into four sections, follows a more prospective trajectory for Emerson studies based on the recent increase in global perspectives in nearly all fields of humanistic studies. The first section of essays is about the author s transatlantic and wider connections and the circulation of his influence to thinkers such as Nietzsche. The next two sections register Emerson s encounters with the global worlds of science and philosophy, from his early encounters with science in France to his meeting with the leading scientists of the day like Faraday during his English lecture tour of 1848. Finally, in the extremely rich concluding section, Emerson s engaging with the major social problem of his time entitles him to be considered as not just cosmopolitan, but even militant in his embrace of the violent abolitionist John Brown, which resonates with violent protesters like George Jackson during the civil rights and Vietnam War era in U.S. history. Bookseller Inventory # ANB9781611491456

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