Emerson Society

Annual Bibliography 2017

An Emerson Bibliography, 2017

Todd H. Richardson, University of Texas of the Permian Basin


Readers should also consult the Thoreau bibliography published quarterly in the Thoreau Society Bulletin and the chapters “Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and Transcendentalism” and “International Scholarship” in the annual American Literary Scholarship (Duke University Press).


Altman, Michael J.  Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu: American Representations of India, 1721-1893.     New York: Oxford UP.  [Suggests that both Emerson and Thoreau “sought out true      religion, and neither was afraid to look to India in his search.”]

Andrews, Barry M.  “That Which Was Ecstasy Shall Become Daily Bread.”  Religions 8.4: 2-18.              [Considers Emerson’s mysticism, including Unitarianism’s influence upon it.]

Andrews, Barry M.  Transcendentalism and the Cultivation of the Soul.  Amherst: University of             Massachusetts Press.  [Provides a distillation of spiritual practices engaged in and promoted by Emerson, Fuller, Thoreau, and others.]

Branch, Michael P., and Clinton Mohs, eds.  “The Best Read Naturalist”: Nature Writings of       Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.  [The Emerson of   this collection is not a detached intellectual; he is instead more akin to Thoreau, actively   immersed in the materiality of nature.]

 Bush, Stephen S.  “Sovereignty of the Living Individual: Emerson and James on Politics and       Religion.”  Religions 8.9: 1-16.  [Explores similarities in Emerson’s and James’s         conceptions of individualism.]

Callaway, H. G.  Pluralism, Pragmatism and American Democracy: A Minority Report.  Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.  [In three essays, Callaway argues that America should return to a culture of Protestant self-restraint he believes Emerson             promotes in English Traits.]

Dowling, David O.  “Emerson’s Newspaperman: Horace Greeley and Radical Intellectual            Culture, 1836-1872.”  Journalism & Communication Monographs 19.1: 7-74.  [Traces       out Greeley’s engagement with “the world’s most radical countercultural minds” of his            era, including Emerson, Karl Marx, and Nathan Meeker.]

Durant, Sam.  The Meeting House / Build Therefore Your Own World.  London: Black Dog          Publishing.  [Catalogues the multimedia exhibits at Concord’s Old Manse and Los        Angeles’s Blum & Poe Gallery which aimed to make visible Native American genocide      and African slavery on which American identity and “freedom” were and are dependent.]

Dumler-Winckler, Emily J.  “The Virtue of Emerson’s Imitation of Christ: From William Ellery Channing to John Brown.”  Journal of Religious Ethics 45.3: 510-38.  [Examines           Emerson’s hortative claim, “imitation is suicide,” in light of the Christian belief that      followers are to imitate Christ.]

Elliott, Clare Frances.  “William Blake’s American Afterlives: Transatlantic Poetics in Emerson and Whitman.”  Transatlantic Literature and Transitivity, 1780-1850.  Eds. Annika     Bautz and Kathryn N. Gray.  New York: Routledge.  195-211.  [Examines Emerson’s       and Elizabeth Palmer Peabody’s early reception of Blake’s major works.]

Foust, Mathew A.  Confucianism and American Philosophy.  Albany: SUNY Press.  [Includes a strong chapter on Emerson’s appropriation of Confucius’s dictum to “have no friend        unlike yourself” in “Friendship.”]

Friesner, Nicholas Aaron.  “A Transcendentalist Nature Religion.”  Religions 8.8: 1-18.  [Argues             that Emerson’s idealism allows for an “expansive notion of nature as the environments in        which we live, while preserving the importance of human moral agency.”]

Fuller, Randall.  The Book That Changed America: How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Ignited a             Nation.  New York: Penguin.  [Argues that Darwin accelerated Transcendentalists’           (including Emerson’s) engagement with both scientific inquiry and abolition.]

Gann, Kyle.  Charles Ives’s Concord: Essays after a Sonata.  Urbana: University of Illinois          Press.  [Argues that Ives found Emerson “maximally open to the infinite,” offering him    inspiration for and validation of his own fervently experimental style.]

Gradert, Kenyon.  “Swept into Puritanism: Emerson, Wendell Phillips, and the Roots of   Radicalism.”  NEQ 90:103-29.  [Argues that Emerson and Phillips, for all their differences, grounded their abolitionist ideology in the Puritanism of their ancestors.]

Guardiano, Nicholas L.  “Charles S. Peirce’s New England Neighbors and Embrace of             Transcendentalism.”  Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 53: 216-45.     [Explores Peirce’s early life in Concord for sources of Transcendentalist influence       in his later work.]

Gurley, Jennifer.  “Louisa May Alcott as Poet: Transcendentalism and the Female Artist.”  NEQ 90: 198-222.  [Argues that Alcott drew heavily on Emerson’s conception of self-reliance             to forge an aesthetic philosophy that eschews both sentimentalism and Emerson’s own   desire to erase individuality in pursuit of the divine.]

Habich, Robert D.  “Emerson’s Canonization and the Perils of Sainthood.”  OUPblog.  [Explores             vacillations in Emerson’s reputation in the years after his death.  Available at         blog.oup.com.]

Habich, Robert D.  “Ralph Waldo Emerson.”  Oxford Bibliographies.  [Updated edition of           Habich’s bibliography.  Available at oxfordbibliographies.com.]

Habich, Robert D., ed.  Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Peterborough, Ontario:         Broadview.  [Includes writings that most clearly confront “the personal challenges of life          with … ‘practical power.’”]

Hakutani, Yoshinobu.  East-West Literary Imagination: Cultural Exchanges from Yeats to           Morrison.  Columbia: University of Missouri Press.  [Provides a comparison of Zen and         Confucian precepts with those of Emerson and Thoreau, respectively.]

Hamilton, Geoff.  “Continents of Liberty: Emerson and Gerald Vizenor’s Chair of Tears.”           Studies in American Indian Literatures 29.2: 71-91.  [Contrasts conceptions of self and         perception in Chair of Tears and Nature.]

Hodder, Alan.  “Christian Conversion, the Double Consciousness, and Transcendentalist Religious Rhetoric.”  Religions 8.9: 1-19.  [Despite deep roots in Unitarianism, such        Transcendentalists as Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau reported sudden and life-changing   spiritual experiences much like “seventeenth-century Puritan paradigms of conversion.”]

Horiuchi, Masaki, ed.  Thoreau in the 21st Century: Perspectives from Japan.  Tokyo: Kinseido.  [Includes essays on Emerson by Mikayo Sakuma, Atsuko Oda, Izumi Ogura, Yoshiko          Fujita, Yoshio Takanashi, and Masaki Horiuchi.]

Jiang, James.  “Character and Persuasion in William James.”  William James Studies 13.1: 49-     70.  [Argues that Emerson’s works acquainted James with Victorian sage writing.]

Kaag, John.  American Philosophy: A Love Story.  New York: Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 2016.        [Becomes more than an introduction to the American philosophical tradition; it is Kaag’s      courageous and deeply personal quest to be sustained by it.]

Koch, Daniel.  “‘L’Homme Religieux Réformateur’: The First French Translation of Emerson in             Adam Mickiewicz’s Revolutionary Tribune des Peuples.”  NEQ 90: 252-61.  [Sheds light            on a translation of Emerson’s “Man the Reformer” appearing in Mickiewicz’s journal   during his 1849 exile in Paris.]

LaRocca, David, ed.  The Bloomsbury Anthology of Transcendental Thought.  New York:            Bloomsbury.  [American Transcendentalism, its forebears, and its descendants are well   represented here, with selections from, among others, Emerson, Fuller, William Ellery           Channing, and William James.]

LaRocca. David.  “Translating Carlyle: Ruminating on the Models of Metafiction at the   Emergence of an Emersonian Vernacular.”  Religions 8.8: 1-26.  [Considers how Sartor       Resartus’s form and content “makes itself known and available to Emerson.”]

López, Roger.  “Emerson’s Philosophical Hour of Friendship: A Reply to Robinson.”       Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 53: 291-311.  [Offers a contentious but    uncompelling rejoinder to David M. Robinson’s reading of Emerson’s “Friendship” in his           essay “‘In the Golden Hour of Friendship’: Transcendentalism and Utopian Desire.”]

Lysaker, John T.  After Emerson.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press.  [Strives to understand             Emerson’s philosophy while also establishing a point of departure from it.]

McGinley, Christine Mary.  “My Emerson.”  Emerson Society Papers 28.1: 11.  [Highlights         Emerson’s work as mentor and teacher.]

Meehan, Sean.  “Essaying with Emerson.”  Emerson Society Papers 28.1: 1, 6-7.  [Finds useful   strategies for teaching nonfiction in Emerson’s parataxis, or the lack of subordination     within sentences.]

Meehan, Sean.  “‘Everything Has Two Handles’: The Rhetoric of Metonymy in Emerson’s Later             Work.”  ESQ 63: 297-333.  [Shows that metonymy for Emerson was not a specific            rhetorical device but rather a “method for demonstrating rhetoric’s broad intellectual and      pedagogical power to translate all perception and thinking into familiar experience.”]

Mendenhall, Allen.  Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Pragmatism, and the Jurisprudence of the Agon.              Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press.  [Explores Emerson’s influence on Holmes’s jurisprudence during his tenure on the United States Supreme Court.]

Nasgaard, Roald and Gwendolyn Owens.  Higher States: Lawren Harris and His American             Contemporaries.  Fredericton, New Brunswick: Goose Lane.  [Identifies Emerson’s          influences on Harris’s abstract art of the 1930s and 40s.]

O’Neill, Bonnie Carr.  Literary Celebrity and Public Life in the Nineteenth-Century United          States.  Athens: University of Georgia Press.  [One chapter explores Emerson’s desire to   serve as a conduit of transcendent wisdom in a lyceum community that valued     personalities and embodied performances of selfhood.]

Pickford, Benjamin.  “Context Mediated: Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Political Economy of   Plagiarism.”  NCL 72.1: 35-63.  [Argues that Emerson anticipated the premise of New            Historicism, that contextual relevance is central to the meaning of a literary work,          through “an alternative political economy of context” that included plagiarism.]

Plotica, Luke Philip.  Nineteenth-Century Individualism and the Market Economy: Individualist   Themes in Emerson, Thoreau, and Sumner.  London: Palgrave Macmillan.  [Interprets           Emerson’s complex views of American capitalism.]

Polley, Diana Hope.  Echoes of Emerson: Rethinking Realism in Twain, James, Wharton, and      Cather.  Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.  [Argues that realist writers were           deeply sympathetic to Emersonian aspirations to selfhood even while they faced the          inexorable power of fate.]

Riker, John H.  Exploring the Life of the Soul: Philosophical Reflections on Psychoanalysis and Self Psychology.  Lanham, MD: Lexington.  [Argues that Emerson’s nature has a         significant application in psychoanalysis, namely the power to nurture a self lost to    “traumatic tragedy and social conformity.”]

Sbriglia, Russell.  “The Symptoms of Ideology Critique; or, How We Learned to Enjoy the          Symptom and Ignore the Fetish.”  Everything You Wanted to Know about Literature but       Were Afraid to Ask Žižek.  Ed. Russell Sbriglia.  Durham: Duke University Press.  107-            36.  [Argues that Emerson’s grief for his son is best understood through his      “fetishization” of Waldo’s daguerreotype given to him by John Thoreau.]

Tateo, Luca.  “Poetic Destroyers: Vico, Emerson and the Aesthetic Dimension of Experiencing.”              Culture & Psychology 23.3: 337-55.  [Argues that “While in [Giambattista] Vico humans             are po(i)etic creators and destroyers of themselves and their social life, in Emerson,    humans are eventually po(i)etic creators and destroyers of everything.”]

Thomas, Louisa.  “Emerson’s Eyes.”  Sewanee Review 125:4: 822-32.  [Meditates on the meaning of eyes in Emerson’s life and works.]

Thompson, Roger.  Emerson and the History of Rhetoric.  Carbondale: Southern Illinois   University Press.  [Shows how Emerson created a “nonsystematic” and “imaginative”            rhetoric to inspire citizens of the new American republic.]

Urbas, Joseph.  “How Close a Reader of Emerson is Stanley Cavell?”  Journal of Speculative       Philosophy 31.4: 557-74.  [Provides evidence that Cavell so misconstrues Emerson that           he is transformed into “a postreligious, postmetaphysical, ‘de-Transcendentalized’     philosopher.”  Urbas concludes that Cavell should be understood not as a reader “of       Emerson” but as a reader “after him.”]

Wright, Tom F.  Lecturing the Atlantic: Speech, Print, and an Anglo-American Commons, 1830- 1870.  New York: Oxford University Press.  [Devotes a chapter to the lecture “England”          and its reception in New York City and Cincinnati in the wake of the Astor Palace riot]