PUP acquires Robert D. Richardson’s Three Roads Back: How Emerson, Thoreau, and William James Responded to the Greatest Losses of Their Lives

Phyllis Rose

PUP acquires Robert D. Richardson’s Three Roads Back: How Emerson, Thoreau, and William James Responded to the Greatest Losses of Their Lives

Executive Editor Anne Savarese has acquired World English rights, including Audio, to Three Roads Back: How Emerson, Thoreau, and William James Responded to the Greatest Losses of Their Lives by the late biographer Robert D. Richardson. Andrew Blauner at Blauner Books Literary Agency handled the deal.

The book, completed before the author’s passing earlier this year, considers resilience by examining how Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and William James dealt with and wrote about profound loss: For Emerson, the death of his young wife and, not long after, their five-year-old son; for Thoreau, the death of his brother; and for James, the death of his beloved cousin Minny. Richardson shows readers, through a combination of biographical detail and quotations from the writers’ journals and letters, how these writers grappled with adversity and ultimately achieved a level of resilience.

In the book’s preface, Richardson reflects that in dark times, “There are many ways to fight back against what is going wrong. One way I have found helpful is to re-examine the lives and works of figures I have already spent many decades with. Emerson, Thoreau, and William James all made lasting contributions to modern life, and their personal triumphs over disaster and loss and defeat are further contributions … . Think of them as fellow human beings, facing losses and troubles much like ours.”

Three Roads Back is scheduled for publication in early 2022.

About the Author

Robert D. Richardson (1934–2020) was the author of Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind; Emerson: The Mind on Fire; and William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism. He taught at a number of colleges and universities, including Harvard, Yale, the University of Colorado, The Graduate Center and Queens College of CUNY, Sichuan University in China, Wesleyan, and UNC Chapel Hill.