Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson
Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.
Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume I: Nature, Addresses, and Lectures
Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume II: Essays: First Series
Some of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s most famous essays, such as “Self-Reliance,” “Compensation,” and “The Over-Soul,” appeared in his Essays of 1841. This edition provides the authoritative text of the Essays, with an introduction, notes, and supplementary material valuable for studying the evolution of Emerson’s thought and style.
Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume III: Essays: Second Series
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s second collection of essays appeared in 1844, when he was forty-one. It includes eight essays—“The Poet,” “Experience,” “Character,” “Manners,” “Gifts,” “Nature,” “Politics,” and “Nominalist and Realist”—and one address, the much misunderstood “New England Reformers.” Essays: Second Series has a lightness of tone and an irony absent from the earlier writings, but it is no less memorable: “a sermon to me,” Carlyle wrote, “a real word.”
Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume IV: Representative Men
In 1845, Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered a series of lectures entitled “Uses of Great Men”; “Plato, or the Philosopher”; “Swedenborg, or the Mystic”; “Montaigne, or the Skeptic”; “Shakespeare, or the Poet”; “Napoleon, or the Man of the World”; and “Goethe, or the Writer.” Emerson’s approach to his great men stands in interesting contrast to that of his friend Carlyle in his Heroes and Hero Worship of 1841. Although by 1845 Emerson had been lecturing for over ten years, Representative Men, published in 1850, was the first of his works to consist of his lectures as delivered, with only minimal revision and expansion. The book retains the immediacy of the spoken word, and the freedom and daring inspired by a live audience.
Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume V: English Traits
This searching and distinctive portrayal of English culture offers a revealing perspective on American viewpoints and preoccupations in the mid-19th century. It is also notable for revealing an interesting side of Emerson’s complex character; here we find a practical Yankee, analyzing English power, resourcefulness, determination, and materialism.
Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume VI: The Conduct of Life
The essays in this book, first published in 1860, were developed from a series of lectures on “The Conduct of Life” delivered by Ralph Waldo Emerson during the early 1850s. The published essays show Emerson’s interest in many practical aspects of human life, and reflect his increasing involvement in politics—chiefly in the antislavery movement—during the decade before the Civil War. This edition is based on Emerson’s holograph manuscripts and published sources, and incorporates Emerson’s later corrections and revisions.
Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume VII: Society and Solitude
Society and Solitude, published in 1870, was the first collection of essays Emerson had put into press since The Conduct of Life ten years earlier. This edition is based on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s holograph manuscripts and published sources. The text incorporates corrections and revisions he recorded in both sources, and thus restores for the reader the text he actually wrote. Although he is still visibly the insistent optimist of his early and middle career, here Emerson assumes a more pragmatic attitude than formerly toward the life of the mind and the imagination.
Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume VIII: Letters and Social Aims
Letters and Social Aims, published in 1875, contains essays originally published early in the 1840s as well as those that were the product of a collaborative effort among Ralph Waldo Emerson, his daughter Ellen Tucker Emerson, his son Edward Waldo Emerson, and his literary executor James Eliot Cabot.
Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume IX: Poems: A Variorum Edition
At the time of his death in 1882, Ralph Waldo Emerson was counted among the greatest poets in nineteenth-century America. This variorum edition of all the poems published during his lifetime offers the reader the opportunity to situate Emerson’s poetic achievement alongside his celebrated essays and to consider their interrelationship.
Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume X: Uncollected Prose Writings
With this tenth volume, a project fifty years in the making reaches completion: publication of critically edited texts of all of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s works published in his lifetime and under his supervision. Uncollected Prose Writings is the definitive gathering of previously published prose writings that Emerson left uncollected at the time of his death.