Writings by Emerson

Scholars should cite the authoritative editions of Emerson’s writings as listed below.  For initial research or non-scholarly use of published texts, the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society recommends the 1903-04 Centenary Edition available both as part of the University of Michigan’s Digital Collections (Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Centenary Edition) and at www.rwe.org.

For a discussion of some issues raised concerning the editorial practices of the first two volumes of the Harvard edition of Collected Works, see Ralph Waldo Emerson: The Major Prose, ed. Ronald A. Bosco and Joel Myerson (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2015), pp. xxxv-xxxix.

The final three volumes of the Centenary Edition (Lectures and Biographical Sketches, Miscellanies, and Natural History of Intellect) were assembled posthumously by family and friends and are therefore not authoritative.  Uncollected prose works published by Emerson in his lifetime are included in volume ten of the Harvard edition, Uncollected Prose Writings, which also discusses the works that no longer can see seen as wholly Emerson’s.

Scholars should cite the authoritative edition of Emerson’s private writings from Harvard’s Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks not the 19019-1914 Centenary Edition of his Journals.

The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Alfred R. Ferguson, Joseph Slater, Douglas Emory Wilson, Ronald A. Bosco et al. 10 vols. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971-2013.

The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. William H. Gilman et al. 16 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1960–1982.

The Early Lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Robert E. Spiller et al. 3 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1959–1972.

The Later Lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson: 18431871, ed. Ronald Bosco and Joel Myerson. 2 vols. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001.

The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Ralph L. Rusk and Eleanor M. Tilton. 10 vols. New York: Columbia University Press, 1939–1995.

Complete Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Albert J. von Frank et al. 4 vols. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1989–1992.

Emerson’s Antislavery Writings, ed. Len Gougeon and Joel Myerson. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995.

The Poetry Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Ralph H. Orth et al.  Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1986.

The Topical Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Ralph H. Orth et al.  3 vols.  Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1990-1994.

The section “Emerson’s Writings” lists, first, separate publications by him, and, second, the titles of his essays and in which book of his they first appeared.

The section “Digital Texts” presents links to electronic texts of Emerson’s writings.