Living from the Soul

Sam Torode submission to accompany excerpt from Living from the Soul

 I believe that Emerson’s voice is needed now as much as ever, in this time of national crisis. Throughout his career, he spoke out against racial injustice and in support of American ideals. One of his continual themes is that we’re all connected—we’re all expressions of the divine soul. Not only are humans inseparable from each other, but we’re inseparable from the Earth. All must be treasured and cared for.

Others have said similar things, particularly visionary religious figures. But uniquely, Emerson holds a central position in American literature and is taught in many high school and college English courses. Moreover, Emerson opposed dogma, and his writings don’t advocate for any religion.

For the past several years, I’ve been paraphrasing Emerson’s writings into contemporary English. My first book of paraphrases, Everyday Emerson: The Wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson Paraphrased (American Renaissance Books 2017), covers his best-known lectures, including “The American Scholar,” “The Divinity School Address,” and “The Transcendentalist.” My hope is that this work will be used to help teach Emerson in public high schools.

My second book, Living from the Soul: The 7 Spiritual Principles of Ralph Waldo Emerson (ST Book Arts 2020), centers on Emerson’s journal entry from September 8, 1833, where he recorded a list of his core convictions. This, I believe, is a touchstone for his entire life’s work. In Living from the Soul, I augmented that journal entry with passages drawn from his sermons, essays, and lectures, to flesh out each principle.

Shortly after self-publishing Living from the Soul, I came across the work of a young cartoonist with a genius for translating philosophical ideas into comics—Alexander Marchand. I asked Alex whether he’d be willing to adapt my Emerson book, and I’m thrilled he accepted.

The result is the first ever (so far as I can tell) comic book introduction to Emerson’s life and ideas. It includes most of the text of Living from the Soul, illustrating the concepts without dumbing them down. I hope this comic will help reach younger readers—and comics lovers of all ages—with Emerson’s vital message.

Below is an except of the first principle (out of seven), “Trust Yourself.” It conveys what Emerson really meant by self-reliance—not selfishness or egotism, but following our inner moral compass.

—Sam Torode

http://www.amazon.com/author/samtorode

http://www.facebook.com/samtorodebooks

“Brahma” Contains Multitudes: Hinduism’s Influence on Emerson

By Gary Ricketts

Ralph Waldo Emerson inherited his father’s affinity for Hinduism and lived long enough to convey its importance to Western spirituality during the first generation of American scholars to have some access to Hindu scriptures: As Robert C. Gordon notes, “Reverend Emerson founded the Anthology Club in 1804, and its members often discussed Indian themes. At about the same time, he became editor of the Monthly Anthology and Boston Review, a periodical which carried a number of articles on Indian philosophy and history during the years of Ralph Waldo’s childhood.” Written in the wake of Bleeding Kansas and in the same year of the Sumner attack, the Pottawatomie Massacre, Indian Wars, and the 1856 election, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Brahma” looks to the East for answers to the enigma of a polarized America just before the Civil War. (T.S. Eliot will similarly do so on a massive level with the “The Wasteland” in 1922.)  The opening evokes Krishna and “The Bhagavad Gita”:

If the red slayer think he slays,

Or if the slain think he is slain,

They know not well the subtle ways

I keep, and pass, and turn again. (CW IX: 365)

The poem is stylized in the English tradition using iambic tetrameter—with inversions—but the content is purely Hindu. The speaker of the poem is Brahma (the Hindu creator god), but “the red slayer” is Krishna (an avatar of the preserver god Vishnu) who is of the warrior caste (Kshatriyas). Be it slayer or slain, all happenings are attributed to Brahma.  Krishna stars as the chariot driver in “The Bhagavad Gita,” a popular section of the “Mahabharata” that is typically anthologized to explain the Hindu soul. Emerson called “The Gita” “the voice of an old intelligence which in another age & climate had pondered & thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us” (JMN X: 360).  Krishna doubles as chariot driver and mentor to Arjuna (the protagonist of the Mahabharata) who is a reluctant warrior in the Kurukshetra War, the battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas—two sides of a family split in war over land, drawing parallels to the schisms in American culture and ultimately the Civil War.

Arjuna’s reluctance to fight in the war, not out of fear but sympathy for the slain, is the catalyst for Krishna’s advice about metaphysics: the physical body, the Atman (reoccurring soul), karma-yoga and self-realization. Emerson appears to have taken his verse directly from Krishna’s directives: “The one who thinks that the Spirit is a slayer, and the one who thinks the Spirit is slain, both are ignorant. Because the Spirit neither slays nor is slain” (2.19). The eternal and omnipotent powers of Brahma or Krishna in “The Gita” reflect a comfortable, governing and deterministic power that pervades all. The New England Calvinist can say all happenings are the result of God’s will and rationalize any catastrophe through Biblical works like Job that deliver comfort: God punishes those he loves best, and it is best for those who suffer to avoid questioning his will. Albeit scientifically irrational, such a view allows one to find meaning amidst chaos but not for the scholarly Concord elite of the 1850s. In the 18th century, the fundamentalist way of interpreting the world as biblical exegesis was then replaced by the Enlightenment’s rational, mechanist, Newtonian method, which by its own precepts could not explain Emerson’s concern with fundamentals like “language, sleep, madness, dreams, beasts, sex” (CW I: 8).

Emerson’s work, as exemplified in “Brahma,” is a metonym for the romantic quest to uncover truth by looking into the past or the exotic as a restorative anchor in the face of the changing times. How can reason explain slavery, the Civil War and the failures of American idealism? By 1856 Emerson had lost his son, his marriage was unfulfilled and his career had seen its better years. When English and German Romantics looked to the past to escape the changing times, they had hundreds of years of folklore and literary tradition. Emerson did not; he resurrected spirituality from the confines of empiricism by turning eastward toward a mystical and literary culture, one accustomed to war and spirituality. The metaphor of war can readily be applied to any individual bound to inescapable personal conflict. “The Bhagavad Gita” reads like therapy and rightfully so: Arjuna is in need of Krishna’s wisdom because he cannot make sense of the horrors he will face in battle; just as Emerson’s evocation of the East is a way for him to make sense of his personal and nation strife. Krishna’s response includes duty on a personal level and an explanation of the whole cosmology of the universe: All is Brahman and everything is sanctioned.

Works Cited

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Brahma.” The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, edited by Albert J. von Frank and Thomas Worthham, vol. IX, Harvard University Press, 2011.

—. The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, edited by William H. Gilman et al., 16 vols., Harvard University Press, 1960-1982.

—. Nature. The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, edited by Alfred R. Ferguson, vol. I, Harvard University Press, 1971.

Gordon, Robert C. “Emerson’s Interest in India.” Infinity Foundationhttps://www.infinityfoundation.com/mandala/i_es/i_es_gordo_emerson_frameset.htm. Accessed 12 October 2020.

Mukundananda, Swami. Chapter 12, Verse 2, Bhagavad Gita: The Song of God https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/12/verse/2. Accessed 12 October 2020.

Legacies of Resistance: Emerson, Buddhism, and Richard Wright’s Pragmatist Poetics

ANITA PATTERSON, Boston University

      In these dark and uncertain times, it is inspiring to learn how Emerson’s legacy has fostered a life-affirming intercultural dialogue in works by African American writers.  Consider, for example, his engagement with Buddhism: Emerson’s doctrine of correspondence has been discussed in connection with the influence of Emanuel Swedenborg and Coleridge, but more should be said about the Buddhist doctrine of dependent origination, which teaches that all things arise in dependence on other things (Paul 61-62; Harvey 73-75; Bosco et al. 100-02). In Nature, Emerson is drawn to the profound interrelationship among the overwhelming diversity of natural facts that shows the “radical correspondence between visible things and human thoughts” (10-11, 22). There is, moreover, a growing consensus among scholars with regard to resonances with the Buddhist doctrine of selflessness or the nonego in one of the most memorable passages from Emerson’s Nature where he becomes a transparent eye-ball:

“In the woods, we return to reason and faith . . . . Standing on the bare ground . . . all mean egotism vanishes.  I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.” (CW I: 10; Richardson 393; Rudy 50; Hakutani 45-47)

Sharon Cameron has argued that in Emerson “the personal is most marked at the moment of its obliteration,” and this recurring dialectic, Emerson’s “making and unmaking of personality,” should be regarded in light of his interest in Buddhism (93-94).  Indeed, Emerson’s perceived affinities with Buddhism may have been one reason that his writings influenced Japanese intellectual circles during the Meiji era (Hodder 401).  D. T. Suzuki, an influential interpreter of Zen Buddhism, published his “Essay on Emerson” in 1896, and in later years recalled the “deep impressions” made upon him while he was reading Emerson in college (343-44).

Richard Wright would have come across Suzuki’s commentary on Emerson in 1959, when he was exiled and seriously ill in Paris, reading Suzuki while composing 4000 poems he would draw from a year later to produce “This Other World: Projections in the Haiku Manner,” a manuscript that was published thirty-eight years after his death (Fabre, Unfinished 510; Fabre, Books 156; Ogburn 57). Wright owned three volumes of collected essays by Emerson, and he expressed deep and lasting admiration for him on the dust jacket of Henrietta Buckmaster’s Let My People Go: Freeing the Slaves, published by Harper in 1941: “We Americans have lost something, have forgotten something, that we will never be ourselves again until we have recaptured and made our own the fire that once burned in the hearts of . . . Douglass, . . . Emerson, . . . and others” (Fabre, Books 19, 47). Reading scholarship on haiku by R. H. Blyth, Wright would have become even more intensely aware of Emerson, for the simple reason that Blyth quotes extensively from Emerson to illustrate fundamental tenets of Zen Buddhism. There are seventeen quotations drawn from Emerson’s poetry and prose in Blyth’s four volumes, and nine in the first volume alone, a volume we know Wright studied with great care.

A poem Wright selected from the group of 4000 to open his collection plausibly alludes to the transparent eye-ball passage in Nature (Patterson, “Modern Poetry”):

I am nobody:

A red sinking autumn sun

Took my name away. (Haiku 1)

Wright’s reference to the Buddhist doctrine of selflessness could be construed as stifling resistance to social injustice. The poet-speaker’s description of himself as “nobody” represents “selflessness,” in Blyth’s sense, because an angry Black consciousness has been transcended and transmuted to peace of mind and acceptance (Kiuchi 34; Kodama 127-28).  However, “I am nobody” has also been regarded as a powerful affirmation of subjectivity (Tener 283, 289; Hakutani 141), and thus protests what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described as “a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’” in his “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” (293).

The force of Wright’s “I am nobody” as a poem of protest and resistance is considerably stronger when it is read in light of Emersonian pragmatism. James Albrecht has shown that John Dewey and Ralph Ellison, following Emerson, place emphasis on reconstructing the idea of truth with a focus on consequences, the conduct of life, and the betterment of human existence in society; like Emerson, they both affirm the importance of individuality as self-reliance (192, 202, 245, 309). In his 1945 introduction to Black Metropolis by St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton, Wright discusses the work of John Dewey, along with his fellow pragmatist William James (“Introduction” xxiii). It is likely that Wright had Emerson and Dewey in mind when he composed his poem, because Dewey quotes Emerson’s transparent eye-ball passage to illustrate the mystic aspect of “aesthetic surrender,” advocating intercultural engagement with the arts of Asian and African civilizations in order to combat racism (29, 344, 349-50).  Wright’s expressed interest in Dewey’s Art as Experience is also noteworthy, insofar as Kenneth Yasuda has observed the applicability of Dewey’s text to traditional haiku aesthetics (12), and scholars have examined Dewey’s influence on twentieth-century Japanese Buddhist philosophy (Garrison et al. 4-5, 13).

Refuting critics who interpret Ellison’s parodic allusions as a scathing rejection of Emerson, Albrecht argues that Invisible Man expresses Ellison’s ambivalent indebtedness to and critique of Emerson’s conception of self-reliance and “complex sense of the self’s social implication and indebtedness” (19). Wright’s poem recalls Ellison’s opening chapter in Invisible Man, where a single passage encapsulates a central insight about democratic individuality as it is reconceived by Emerson and the legacy of pragmatism elaborated by Dewey. “It took me a long time,” says the Invisible Man, “and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself” (Ellison, IM 15). In “I am nobody,” Wright acknowledges his lifelong literary friendship with Ellison, who in a 1945 review of Wright’s autobiography, Black Boy, praised Wright for converting “the American Negro impulse toward self-annihilation . . . into a will to confront the world” (“Richard Wright’s Blues” 94). Conversing with Emerson, and through Emerson with each other, they respond in a hopeful, life-affirming way to what would otherwise appear to be tragic limitations on the self.  There is much more to be said about Buddhist influences in Emerson and the importance of East-West interculturality for the development of Wright’s pragmatist poetics.  I hope I have shown how Emerson’s legacy opens cross-cultural vistas that make his work more relevant than ever in our 21st century moment.

Works Cited

Albrecht, James. Reconstructing Individualism: A Pragmatic Tradition from Emerson to Ellison. Fordham UP, 2012.

Bosco, Ronald, Joel Myerson, and Daisaku Ikeda, Creating Waldens: An East-West Conversation on the American Renaissance. Dialogue Path Press, 2009.

Buckmaster, Henrietta. Let My People Go: The Story of the Underground Railroad and the Growth of the Abolition Movement. Harper & Brothers, 1941.

Cameron, Sharon. Impersonality: Seven Essays. U of Chicago P, 2007.

Dewey, John. Art as Experience. Penguin, 1934.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Nature. The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol. 1, edited by Robert E. Spiller and Alfred R. Ferguson, The Belknap Press of Harvard UP, 1971.

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man. 1952. Commemorative ed., Random House, 1994.

____. “Richard Wright’s Blues.” Shadow and Act. Random House, 1964, pp. 77-94.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Ralph Waldo Emerson: Essays and Lectures, edited by Joel Porte, Library of America, 1983.

Fabre, Michel. Richard Wright: Books and Writers. UP of Mississippi, 1990.

____. The Unfinished Quest of Richard Wright. Translated by Isabel Barzun, 2nd ed., U of Illinois Press, 1993.

Garrison, Jim, Larry Hickman, and Daisaku Ikeda. Living as Learning: John Dewey in the 21st Century. Dialogue Path Press, 2014.

Hakutani, Yoshinobu. East-West Literary Imagination: Cultural Exchanges from Yeats to Morrison. U of Missouri P, 2017.

Harvey, Samantha. Coleridge, Emerson, and Nature. Edinburgh UP, 2013.

Hodder, Alan. “Asia in Emerson and Emerson in Asia.” Mr. Emerson’s Revolution, edited by Jean Mudge, Open Book, 2015, pp. 373-405.

King, Martin Luther. “Letter from Birmingham City Jail.” A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr., edited by James M. Washington, HarperCollins, 1991, pp. 289-302.

Kiuchi, Toru. “Zen Buddhism in Richard Wright’s Haiku.” The Other World of Richard Wright: Perspectives on His Haiku, edited by Jianqing Zheng, UP of Mississippi, 2011, pp. 25-42.

Kodama, Sanehide. “Japanese Influence on Richard Wright in His Last Years: English Haiku as a New Genre.” The Other World of Richard Wright: Perspectives on His Haiku, edited by Jianqing Zheng, UP of Mississippi, 2011, pp. 122-133.

Ogburn, Floyd. “Richard Wright’s Unpublished Haiku:  A World Elsewhere.” MELUS, vol. 23, no. 3, 1998, pp. 57-81.

Paul, Sherman. Emerson’s Angle of Vision. Harvard UP, 1969.

Patterson, Anita. “Modern Poetry and Haiku.” Richard Wright in Context, edited by Michael Nowlin, Cambridge UP, under contract.

Richardson, Robert. Emerson: The Mind on Fire. U of California P, 1995.

Rudy, John. Emerson and Zen Buddhism. Edwin Mellen Press, 2001.

Suzuki, Daisetz T. Zen and Japanese Culture. Princeton UP, 1959.

Tener, Robert. “The Where, the When, the What.” Critical Essays on Richard Wright, edited by Yoshinobu Hakutani, G. K. Hall, 1982, pp. 273-298.

Wright, Richard. Haiku: This Other World, edited by Yoshinobu Hakutani and Robert Tener, Arcade, 1998.

____. “Introduction.” Black Metropolis. Harcourt Brace, 1945, pp. xvii-xxxiv.

Yasuda, Kenneth. The Japanese Haiku: Its Essential Nature, History, and Possibilities in English. Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1957.

Emerson Society Web Panel “‘The Way to Mend the Bad World, Is to Create the Right World’: The Transcendentalists and Forms of Righting the World”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year’s Thoreau Annual Gathering will take place online through video conference. Please join us for a 90-minute program beginning at 9 am EST on July 9, including the following presenters:

Welcome by Joseph Urbas (Université Bordeaux – Montaigne)

Panel: “‘The Way to Mend the Bad World, Is to Create the Right World’: The Transcendentalists and Forms of Righting the World”

Chair: Kristina West (University of Reading)

  1. Kristina West, “Radical Transcendentalism: Emerson and Civil Disobedience in the 21st Century.”
  2. Ayad Rahman (Washington State University), “Reading Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City through the Lens of Emerson’s ‘Farming.'”
  3. Christina Katopodis (CUNY Graduate Center, Hunter College), “Emerson’s Transcendental Sonic Self and the Tuning of the World.”

Those who wish to attend should email event host Christopher Hanlon (christopher.hanlon@asu.edu) for Zoom meeting id and password. Please use subject header “TAG RSVP” and include your full name along with institutional affiliation if applicable.

Please join us for what promises to be a stimulating exchange.

The Transparent Eyeball Blog Announcement

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society announces The Transparent Eyeball, a blog devoted to
a collaborative study of Emerson and the innumerable circles of conversation in which he
participated and in which we continue to find him. We welcome short—500-1,000
word—submissions from undergraduate and graduate students, teachers, independent scholars,
early career as well as established scholars, artists, activists, and the general public. We
especially encourage submissions that address Emerson’s relevance in our 21 st -century moment;
consider him in conversation with philosophers, poets, environmentalists, artists, and activists,
within and beyond the nineteenth century; and explore him in transnational and interdisciplinary
contexts. Submissions may take any form—meditations, provocations, polemics, analyses,
critical-creative hybrids, personal reflections—but should be original work, jargon-free, and
accessible to the general public. Submissions will be received on a rolling basis and reviewed by
members of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society Media Committee. Submissions may be returned
to applicants with suggested revisions. Please submit your Transparent Eyeball contributions to
TheTransparentEyeballBlog@gmail.com

Undergraduate Student Essay Prize

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society invites submissions for the first annual Emerson Society
Undergraduate Student Essay Prize. Undergraduate students are welcome to submit 1,000-1,500-
word academic essays on any topic relevant to the study of Ralph Waldo Emerson—his life,
work, national and transnational reception, importance within and beyond U.S. literature and
culture, and/or contemporary relevance. Winning essays will demonstrate originality, clarity, and
rigorous engagement with Emerson. Selected essays may be returned to applicants with
suggested revisions. The winning essay will be published in Emerson Society Papers and the
writer awarded $100.
* Submissions should be 1,000-1,500 words and follow the 8th edition of MLA style, using
endnotes rather than footnotes.
* Submissions should include a cover letter containing the applicant’s name, essay title,
academic status and affiliation, e-mail address, and postal address.
* Please submit documents by email—with the subject line “Emerson Society Student
Essay Prize”—to Kristina West (kristina.west@btopenworld.com) and Prentiss Clark
(Prentiss.Clark@usd.edu) no later than 15 December 2020.

Virtual Emerson Society Panels

In lieu of meeting at ALA in San Diego, the Society will be hosting two virtual panel sessions this Friday, May 22, at 8:30 a.m. EST & 10:00 a.m. EST. To register email emerson.society.webmaster@gmail.com

Panel Details are:

Emerson and Resistance, 1: Politics, Religion, and Literature (8:30 am EST at Zoom link above)

Chair: Susan L. Dunston, New Mexico Tech

1.”Legacies of Resistance: Emerson, Buddhism, and Richard Wright’s Pragmatist Poetics,” Anita Patterson, Boston University

2.”Emerson’s Translation: An Act of Resistance, “Sarah Khalili Jahromi, Université Paris Sorbonne

3.”‘The Health of the Eye Seems to Demand a Horizon: Emersonian Resistance in Frederick Douglass’s Narrative,” Regina Yoong, Ohio University

4.”Emerson and Reconstruction,” Christopher Hanlon, Arizona State University

 

Emerson and Resistance, 2: Philosophy and Culture (10:00 am EST at Zoom link above)

Chair: Anita Patterson, Boston University

1.”The Ethics of Resistance: Emerson on Self-Reliance and Toni Morrison on Self-Regard,” Susan L. Dunston New Mexico Tech

2.”Shifting Paradigms: A Cultural Context for Emerson’s Racism and Abolitionism, “Leslie Brownlee, University of California Davis

3.”Why Ralph Waldo Emerson Should be Seen as a Eudaimonist Philosopher of Virtue Ethics,” Christopher Prozenheim, Georgia State University

4.”Whim at Last? Stanley Cavell on Emerson’s Resistance to Pragmatism,” David Heckerl, Saint-Mary’s University

Awards Announcements 2020

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society announces four awards for projects that foster appreciation for Emerson.

*Graduate Student Paper Award*
Provides up to $750 of travel support to present a paper on an Emerson Society panel at the American Literature Association Annual Conference (May 2020) or the Thoreau Society Annual Gathering (July 2020). Submit a 300-word abstract to David Greenham (david.greenham@uwe.ac.uk) by January 10, 2020. Abstracts should address the 2020 CFPs posted at emersonsociety.org.

*Research Grant*
Provides up to $500 to support scholarly work on Emerson. Preference given to junior scholars and graduate students. Submit a confidential letter of recommendation, and a 1-2-page project proposal, including a description of expenses, by August 28th, 2020.

*Pedagogy or Community Project Award*
Provides up to $500 to support projects designed to bring Emerson to a nonacademic audience. Submit a confidential letter of recommendation, and a 1-2-page project proposal, including a description of expenses, by August 28th, 2020.

*Subvention Award*
Provides up to $500 to support costs attending the publication of a scholarly book or article on Emerson and his circle. Submit a confidential letter of recommendation, and a 1-2-page proposal, including an abstract of the forthcoming work and a description of publication expenses, by August 28th, 2020.

Please send proposals to Prentiss Clark (Prentiss.Clark@usd.edu) and Kristina West (kristina.west@btopenworld.com). Award recipients must become members of the Society

CFP Emerson Society at the Thoreau Annual Gathering, 2020

The Emerson Society sponsors a panel at the Thoreau Society Annual Gathering each summer in Concord, MA (July 8-12, 2020). For information on the conference theme, please visit www.thoreausociety.org. We will consider papers both on the topic below and the conference theme more generally.

‘“The way to mend the bad world, is to create the right world”: The Transcendentalists and Forms of Righting the World’*

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society invites proposals on the topic of ‘The Transcendentalists and Forms of Righting the World.’  The RWES would particularly welcome proposals that situate Emerson in a wider Transcendentalist context. We would also welcome proposals that explore the relevance of Emersonian and Transcendentalist ideas of world ‘righting’ to contemporary contexts.*

E-mail 300 word abstracts to David Greenham (david.greenham@uwe.ac.uk) by Jan. 10, 2020. Membership of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society is required of presenters.

*The RWES Graduate Student Paper Award provides up to $750 of travel support to present a paper on an Emerson Society panel at the American Literature Association Annual Conference (May 2020) or the Thoreau Society Annual Gathering (July 2020). If you are a graduate student, please make this clear on your abstract.

CFPs for ALA San Diego, 2020

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society will sponsor two panels at the annual meeting of the American Literature Association, to be held May 21-24, 2020, San Diego, USA.

‘Emerson and Resistance’*

The Emerson Society invites proposals on the topic of ‘Emerson and Resistance’. Papers might like to consider the idea of resistance in Emerson in his own time, in subsequent periods, or in contemporary contexts. Emersonian resistance may also be considered in relation to other writers, political thinkers and philosopher’s.

‘Emerson’s Society and Solitude at 150’*

The Emerson Society invites proposals on the topic of Society and Solitude at 150. Papers might like to consider new critical perspectives on the book and its place in the Emerson canon, perspectives on any of the 12 essays published in the book or the range of topics represented (civilization, art, eloquence, farming, books, old age, etc.), and more broadly, ‘society’ and ‘solitude’ in Emerson.

E-mail 300 word abstracts to David Greenham (david.greenham@uwe.ac.uk) by Jan. 10, 2020. Membership of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society is required of presenters.

*The RWES Graduate Student Paper Award provides up to $750 of travel support to present a paper on an Emerson Society panel at the American Literature Association Annual Conference (May 2020) or the Thoreau Society Annual Gathering (July 2020). If you are a graduate student, please make this clear on your abstract.