Skip to main content

Black History Month: Select Books 30% Off

Harvard University Press - home
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Major Prose

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Edited by Ronald A. Bosco and Joel Myerson

ISBN 9780674417069

Publication date: 06/09/2015

Request exam copy

Upon its completion, The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1971–2013) was hailed as a major achievement of scholarship and textual editing. Drawing from the ten volumes of the Collected Works, Ronald A. Bosco and Joel Myerson have gathered some of Emerson’s most memorable prose published during his lifetime and under his direct supervision. The editors have enhanced those selections with additional writings to produce the only anthology that represents in a single volume the full range of Emerson’s written and spoken prose genres—sermons, lectures, addresses, and essays—that took on their public life in the pulpit or lecture hall, or on the printed page.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: The Major Prose demonstrates the remarkable scope of Emerson’s interests, from science, literature, art, philosophy, natural history, and religion to pressing social issues such as slavery and women’s rights, to the character of his contemporaries, including Lincoln and Thoreau. Emerson’s classic essays Nature, “Self-Reliance,” and “Experience” complement his less familiar but no less vital texts, including the deeply heterodox sermon on “The Lord’s Supper,” which effectively announced his resignation from the ministry, and late essays on “American Civilization,” “Character,” and “Works and Days.” Edited according to the most rigorous modern standards, Ralph Waldo Emerson: The Major Prose provides an authoritative compendium of writings by one of America’s most significant literary figures and public intellectuals.


  • Bosco and Myerson, the finest textual scholars of Emerson’s work, have collected Emerson’s major sermons, lectures, and essays into one elegant, beautifully edited volume…Where necessary, the editors have improved on the editing of such seminal addresses as ‘The American Scholar,’ creating the most authoritative texts of individual prose works now available. This volume has much to offer both seasoned scholars and those coming to the ‘Sage of Concord’ for the first time.

    —T. H. Richardson, Choice


  • 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.
  • Joel Myerson is Carolina Distinguished Professor of American Literature, Emeritus, at the University of South Carolina.

Book Details

  • 608 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press

From this author