Emerson Society

Annual Bibliography 2018

An Emerson Bibliography, 2018

Todd H. Richardson, University of Texas 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).

Adams, Stephen J.  Patriotic Poets: American Odes, Progress Poems, and the State of the Union.   McGill-Queens.  [Maintains, in a chapter devoted to Emerson’s poetry of the 1840s, that the “erasure of politics … is absolute” in his quest for spiritual elevation.]

Aherne, Philip.  The Coleridge Legacy.  Palgrave Macmillan.  [Contextualizes Emerson’s reception of Coleridge in the larger history of Coleridge’s far-reaching transatlantic influence.]

Bădulescu, Dana. “On Emerson’s Dream of Eating the World.”  Linguaculture 9.2: 13–24.  [Maintains, using Emerson’s dream, that “literature not just embraces the world but also … ultimately transforms it.”]

Bailey, Austin.  “‘Man Himself is a Sign’: Emerson, C. S. Peirce, and the Semiosis of Mind.” ESQ 64: 680-714.  [Argues that “Emerson’s work prefigured Peirce’s theories about the sign.”]

Bregman, Jay.  “From the Neoplatonizing Christian Gnosticism of Philip K. Dick to the Neoplatonizing Hermetic Gnosticism of Ralph Waldo Emerson.”  Platonic Pathways: Selected Papers from the Fourteenth Annual Conference of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies.  Ed. John F. Finamore and Danielle A. Layne.  Prometheus Trust.  261-276.  [Examines such disparate figures to give a glimpse of Neoplatonic influence in post-Enlightenment America.]

Bronson-Bartlett, Blake.  “From Loose Leaves to Readymades: Manuscript Books in the Age of Emerson and Whitman.”  J19 6: 259-83.  [Considers how changes in writing technology led to the “variations of philosophical and poetic experimentation we know as transcendentalism.”]

Brownlee, Peter John.  The Commerce of Vision: Optical Culture and Perception in Antebellum America.  Pennsylvania.  [Considers in one section “the practical conceptions of the eyes invoked by Emerson in Nature” as “characteristic of a broader cluster of discourses … in the antebellum decades.”]

Constantinesco, Thomas.  “The Dial and the Untimely ‘Spirit of the Time.’”  American Periodicals 28: 21-40.  [Makes the case that the Dial did in fact capture, in the words of Emerson, the “spirit of the time.”] 

Da, Nan Z.  Intransitive Encounter: Sino-U.S. Literatures and the Limits of Exchange.  Columbia.  [Characterizes Emerson’s engagement with China as “provisional,” “self- erasing,” and of “limited transmission.”]

Dahl, Adam.  Empire of the People: Settler Colonialism and the Foundations of Modern Democratic Thought.  Kansas.  [Concludes, in the chapter section devoted to Emerson, that “native elimination cleared the way for the cultivation of the democratic ethos” in Emerson’s thought.]

Davis, Clark.  “Emerson’s Telescope: Jones Very and Romantic Individualism.” NEQ 91: 483- 507.  [Holds that Yvor Winters’s 1938 reading of the delusional Jones Very as a “saintly man” and Emerson as a “fraud and sentimentalist” is illustrative of the historical moment.]

Davis, Ryan W.  “Frontier Kantianism: Autonomy and Authority in Ralph Waldo Emerson and Joseph Smith.”  Journal of Religious Ethics 46: 332–59.  [Avers that that both Emerson and Joseph Smith are “Frontier Kantians.”]

Di Leo, Jeffrey R.  “Who Needs American Literature?: From Emerson to Marcus and Sollors.”  American Literature as World Literature.  Ed. Jeffrey R. Di Leo.  Bloomsbury.  [Contrasts the panic of 1837 and Emerson’s appeal for an American life of the mind with the terrorist attack of 9/11 and its call for global reckoning.]

Dowling, David O.  “Literary Circles.”  Herman Melville in Context.  Ed. Kevin J. Hayes.  Cambridge.  95-105.  [Gives a brief overview of Melville’s “mixed response” Transcendentalists including Emerson.]

Dumler-Winckler, Emily.  “Can Genius Be Taught? Emerson’s Genius and the Virtues of Modern Science.”  Journal of Moral Education.  47.3: 272–88.  [An edifying discussion of Emerson’s conception of genius.]

—. “Personal Responsibility in the Face of Social Evils: Transcendentalist Debates Revisited.”  Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 38: 147-65.  [Promotes a Transcendentalist remedy for the spiritual sickness that defines the Trump era.]

Dunston, Susan L.  Emerson and Environmental Ethics.  Lexington.  [Discusses the “overlooked common ground” shared between Emerson’s thought and “Indigenous science and ethics, Sufi poetry, feminism, and systems thinking,” among others.]

Fortuna, Agnese Maria. “Nature and the Transatlantic Idealism: The Sources of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Romantic Symbolism.”  Vivens Homo 29.1: 99–123.  [Posits that Emerson’s reading of European Romanticism informed his creation of the poet-prophet in Nature.]

Fountain, Anne.  “Martí and Emerson: Close Reading, Context, and Translation.”  Syncing the Americas: José Martí and the Shaping of National Identity.  Ed. Ryan Anthony Spangler and Georg Schwarzmann.  Rowman & Littlefield.  81-94.  [Draws inferences about Emerson’s influence on Martí based on the latter’s translations of him.]

Gallagher-Ross, Jacob.  Theaters of the Everyday: Aesthetic Democracy on the American Stage.  Northwestern.  [One chapter posits Thoreau and Emerson as “opposing tensions” in Thornton Wilder’s work.]

Gatta, John.  “Sacramental Communion with Nature: From Emerson on the Lord’s Supper to Thoreau’s Transcendental Picnic.”  Religions 9.2: 1-9.  [Explores Emerson’s “attraction toward other … concepts of communion” after abandoning the Lord’s Supper in 1832.]

Georgi, Karen L.  “Summer Camp with William J. Stillman: Looking at Nature, between Ruskin and Emerson.”  American Art 32.3: 22–41.  [Compares Stillman’s painting Philosopher’s Camp in the Adirondacks with Emerson’s Nature.]

Goodson, Jacob L.  Strength of Mind: Courage, Hope, Freedom, Knowledge.  Cascade Books.  [Employs such Emerson standards as “The American Scholar” to establish an educational philosophy for Christian institutions of higher learning.]

Greenham, David.  “The Work of Metaphor: Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ‘Circles’ and Conceptual Metaphor Theory.”  ESQ 64:402-34.  [Infers a theory of metaphor that activates Emerson’s intellectual life.]

Hanlon, Christopher.  Emerson’s Memory Loss: Originality, Communality, and the Late Style Oxford.  [Includes the useful insight that standard readings of Emerson’s early-career self-reliance must be mitigated by his late-career reliance on collaboration.]

Hardack, Richard.  “Dream a Little Dream of Not Me: The Natures of Emerson’s Demonology.”  symplokē 26: 329-59.  [Characterizes “Demonology” as a “dark, racialized, feminized, and materialized ‘real’ limit on established conventions.”]

Hicks, Stephanie.  “Thomas Carlyle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and History.”  Thomas Carlyle and the Idea of Influence.  Eds. Paul E. Kerry et al.  Fairleigh Dickinson.  35-51.  [Declares that Emerson revised his theory of history because “a Carlylean biographical understanding of history” would not allow for “Emersonian self-reliance.”

Hosseini, Reza.  “Emerson and the ‘Pale Scholar.’”  Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review/Revue Canadienne de Philosophie 57: 115-135.  [Concerns the optimal relationship between efficacious thought and action for Emerson.]

Insko, Chester A.  History, Abolition, and the Ever-Present Now in Antebellum American Writing.  Oxford.  [Argues in one chapter that Emerson’s renunciation of the past in the 1830s paved the way for his immediatist abolitionist activity beginning in the 1840s.]

Jones, Gavin and Judith Richardson.  “Emerson and Hawthorne; or, Locating the American Renaissance.”  Cambridge Companion to the American Renaissance.  Ed. Christopher N. Phillips.  Cambridge.  52-65.  [Emerson’s ideas lead to wider global networks while Hawthorne’s lead to “ingress” for “spiritual and historical shadows.”]

Keohane, Oisín.  Cosmo-nationalism: German, French and American Philosophy.  Edinburgh.  [Proffers in one chapter that Emerson is critical of American exceptionalism while revealing America’s debt to European philosophy.]  

Kirsch, Geoffrey R.  “‘So Much a Piece of Nature’: Emerson, Webster, and the Transcendental Constitution.”  NEQ 91: 625-50.  [Suggests that, for Emerson, “Webster’s moral failure … could only be redeemed … through the antinomian violence of John Brown.”]

Long, Mark C. and Sean Ross Meehan.  Approaches to Teaching Ralph Waldo Emerson.  MLA.  [Includes twenty-seven essays with eminently useful strategies for teaching Emerson.  Intended for newcomers and seasoned veterans alike.]

Lysaker, John.  “Giving Voice to Philosophy.”  Journal of Speculative Philosophy 32.1: 131-50.  [Notes that Cavell “lionizes” Emerson but on “narrow terms.”]

Miguel-Alfonso, Ricardo.  “Teaching through Others: Sigourney, Emerson, and the Didactic Culture of Transcendentalism.”  Lydia Sigourney: Critical Essays and Cultural Views.  Eds. Mary Louise Kete and Elizabeth Petrino.  Massachusetts.  210-25.  [Detects notable similarities and differences in Sigourney’s and Emerson’s use of biography as an educational tool.]

Miller, Jesse.  “Medicines of the Soul: Reparative Reading and the History of Bibliotherapy.”  Mosaic 51.2: 17-34.  [Traces bibliotherapy to Samuel McChord Crothers, a Unitarian minister influenced by Emerson.]

Robinson Jr., Mixon.  “Bell, Book, and Locomotive: Communicating Abolition in and out of Concord, Massachusetts.”  NEQ 91: 448-82.  [On the occasion of Emerson’s “Emancipation of the Negroes in the British West Indies,” abolitionists appropriated Concord’s town bells to create a soundscape underscoring demands for immediate emancipation.]

Sanders, Trent Michael.  “The Promethean Form: A Poet’s Ontological Metamorphosis in Emerson’s ‘Self-Reliance’ and ‘The Poet.’”  Philosophy and Literature 42.1: 222-29.  [Identifies progression in Emerson’s conception of the human subject from receptor of undefined Promethean fire to disciplined engine of divine creation.]

Schober, Regina.  “Transcendentalism.”  Walt Whitman in Context.  Ed. Joanna Levin and Edward Whitley.  Cambridge.  189-197.  [Provides an overview of “interconnectedness” as a spiritual and aesthetic aspiration that Whitman and Emerson hold in common.]

Schwarzmann, Georg.  “Creating Superman: R. W. Emerson, José Martí, Friederich Nietzsche, and Walt Whitman.”  Syncing the Americas: José Martí and the Shaping of National Identity.  Ed. Ryan Anthony Spangler and Georg Schwarzmann.  Rowman & Littlefield.  95-111.  [Holds that Martí and Nietzsche, following Emerson, promoted a new individual character to master the demands of modernity.]

Stanley, Kate.  Practices of Surprise in American Literature after Emerson.  Cambridge.  [Maintains that Emerson’s conception of “surprise” and the “states of spontaneity and responsiveness” it engenders is a central experience of modernism.]

—. “Unrarified Air: Alfred Stieglitz and the Modernism of Equivalence.”  Modernism/modernity 26: 185-212.  [Avers that Stieglitz, in the spirit of Emerson, “looked to the clouds …to ground himself more fully in the place where he found himself.”]

Sommer, Tim.  “Shakespearean Negotiations: Carlyle, Emerson, and the Ambiguities of Transatlantic Influence.”  Thomas Carlyle and the Idea of Influence.  Eds. Paul E. Kerry et al.  Fairleigh Dickinson.  129-143.  [Posits that Carlyle and Emerson employ Shakespeare’s genius for diverging cultural purposes.]

Tawil, Ezra.  Literature, American Style: The Originality of Imitation in the Early Republic.   Pennsylvania.  [Decades before Emerson, American authors defined their writing styles against those English to capture a “larger share” of a “transatlantic literary market.”]

Trudeau, Lawrence J., ed.  Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism vol. 353.  Gale Cengage.  [A reference volume concerning Emerson generally (section one) and “Self-Reliance” specifically (section two).]

Vestal, Allan W.  “‘In the Name of Heaven, Don’t Force Men to Hear Prayers’: Religious Liberty and the Constitutions of Iowa.”  Drake Law Review 66: 355-451.  [Contextualizes the religious liberalism of Iowa’s constitutional conventions in the sensation surrounding Emerson’s “Divinity School Address” and Abner Kneeland’s blasphemy trial.]

Weisenburg, Michael.  “Teaching Emerson in the Archive.”  Emerson Society Papers 28.1: 1, 6-7.  [Details a strategy for immersing students in archival materials to create a sense of immediacy in Emerson’s life and career.]

Wieland, Jeff.  “The Artist as Prophet: Emerson’s Thoughts on Art.”  Philosophy and Literature 42.1: 30-48.  [Contends that Emerson’s essay “Thoughts on Art” is “central to his position” that the artist “must act as a prophet” to encourage audiences to “seek original inspiration and insight” themselves.]