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Understanding Emerson:
"The American Scholar" and His Struggle for Self-Reliance
Kenneth S. Sacks

Book Description
Introduction [in PDF format]


"Understanding Emerson is a superb piece of historical research brought to life by a deep intuition about one of the most fascinating phenomena of the nineteenth century: the mind of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Kenneth Sacks has got that mind exactly right. He has grasped the curiously ungraspable quality of Emerson's thought, and by showing us, in a fineness of detail no one else has approached, how Emerson came to write 'The American Scholar,' he shows us, too, why we continue to read him."--Louis Menand, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York

"A timely and elegantly written reminder of why Emerson is America's most important intellectual."--Gordon Wood, Brown University

"Kenneth Sacks has succeeded admirably in producing a very important examination of both the ferment of reform and change in which Transcendentalism arose, and Emerson's personal struggle with that ferment. He breaks a good deal of new ground. The picture that emerges is insightful, revealing, and engaging. The book is very well written and, blessedly, jargon free."--Len Gougeon, author of Virtue's Hero: Emerson, Antislavery, and Reform, and past President of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society (2000-2001)

"This is an engaging book--well-written, without jargon, and suitable for the educated reader as well as for the Emerson scholar interested in the details missed by many biographers and intellectual historians. I was carried along as a reader from beginning to end, and often smiled with satisfaction at the author's wit and the aptness of his use of quotations and other documentary evidence."--William Pannapacker, Hope College

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File created: 2/4/2015

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