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Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume VIII: Letters and Social Aims

Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume VIII: Letters and Social Aims

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Edited by Joel Myerson

ISBN 9780674035607

Publication date: 02/15/2010

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ronald A. Bosco

Glen M. Johnson

Joel Myerson

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 , his daughter Ellen Tucker Emerson, his son Edward Waldo Emerson, and his literary executor James Eliot Cabot. The volume takes up the topics of “Poetry and Imagination,” “Social Aims,” “Eloquence,” “Resources,” “The Comic,” “Quotation and Originality,” “Progress of Culture,” “Persian Poetry,” “Inspiration,” “Greatness,” and, appropriately for Emerson’s last published book, “Immortality.”The historical introduction demonstrates for the first time the decline in Emerson’s creative powers after 1865; the strain caused by the preparation of a poetry anthology and delivery of lectures at Harvard during this time; the devastating effect of a house fire in 1872; and how the Emerson children and Cabot worked together to enable Emerson to complete the book. The textual introduction traces this collaborative process in detail and also provides new information about the genesis of the volume as a response to a proposed unauthorized British edition of Emerson’s works.Historical Introduction by
Notes and Parallel Passages by
Text Established and Textual Introduction and Apparatus by


  • Ronald A. Bosco, Distinguished Professor of English and American Literature at the University at Albany, State University of New York, is General Editor of the Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  • Glen M. Johnson is Professor of English, The Catholic University of America.
  • Joel Myerson is Carolina Distinguished Professor of American Literature, Emeritus, at the University of South Carolina.

Book Details

  • 670 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press
  • Introduction by Ronald A. Bosco
  • Notes by Glen M. Johnson

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