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Library of America Ralph Waldo Emerson Edition

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Essays and Lectures (LOA #15) by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Selected Journals Vol. 1 1820-1842 (LOA #201) by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Selected Journals Vol. 2 1841-1877 (LOA #202) by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Library of America Ralph Waldo Emerson Edition : Titles in Order

Book 4
When Emerson died in 1882 he was the most famous public intellectual in America. Yet his most remarkable literary creation–his journals–remained unpublished. Begun when he was a precocious Harvard junior of 16 and continued without significant lapse for almost 60 years, Emerson’s journals were his life’s work. They were the starting point for virtually everything in his celebrated essays, lectures, and poems; a “Savings Bank,” in which his occasional insights began to cohere and yield interest; a commonplace book, in which he gathered the choicest anecdotes, ideas, and phrases from his voracious and wide-ranging reading; and a fascinating diary in the ordinary sense of the term. It would be a hundred years after his death before these intimate records would appear in print in their entirety, and they are still, at over three million words, among the least known and least available of Emerson’s writings. The journals reveal what Emerson called “the infinitude of the private man”-by turns whimsical, incisive, passionate, curious, and candid-in astonishing new ways.

With Selected Journals 1841-1877 and its companion volume Selected Journals 1820-1842, The Library of America presents the most ample and comprehensive nonspecialist edition of Emerson’s great work ever published-one that retains the original order in which he composed his thoughts and preserves the dramatic range of his unique style in long, uninterrupted passages, but without the daunting critical apparatus of the 16-volume scholarly edition. Each volume includes a 16-page portfolio of images of Emerson and his contemporaries, a note on the selections, extensive notes, biographical sketches, a chronology, and an index.

This volume opens with an Emerson at the height of his powers, soon to write his celebrated essays “Experience” and “Self-Reliance,” and in the midst of a vibrant intellectual circle. It follows his anguished reactions to the nation’s intensifying political turmoil: his anger at the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, his antislavery activism, and his day- to-day experience of the Civil War (including a wartime trip to Washington, D.C., where he met President Lincoln).

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 3
When Emerson died in 1882 he was the most famous public intellectual in America. Yet his most remarkable literary creation–his journals–remained unpublished. Begun when he was a precocious Harvard junior of 16 and continued without significant lapse for almost 60 years, Emerson’s journals were his life’s work. They were the starting point for virtually everything in his celebrated essays, lectures, and poems. It would be a hundred years after his death before these intimate records would appear in print in their entirety, and they are still, at over three million words, among the least known and least available of Emerson’s writings.

With Selected Journals 1820-1842 and its companion volume Selected Journals 1841-1877, The Library of America presents the most ample and comprehensive nonspecialist edition of Emerson’s great work ever published–one that retains the original order in which he composed his thoughts and preserves the dramatic range of his unique style in long, uninterrupted passages, but without the daunting critical apparatus of the 16-volume scholarly edition. Each volume includes a 16-page portfolio of images of Emerson and his contemporaries, a note on the selections, extensive notes, biographical sketches, a chronology, and an index.

This volume begins with Emerson’s first journal entry, on January 25, 1820, in a homemade booklet he titled The Wide World, and follows him through his early years at Harvard College and the Divinity School, his ordination as a Unitarian minister, his marriage to Ellen Tucker and her untimely death, his fateful decision to leave the ministry, and his travels in England and on the Continent. It offers an irreplaceable perspective on the intellectual currents of the day–the emergence of Transcendentalism; the furor over Emerson’s “Divinity School Address”; the founding of The Dial; experiments in communal living at Fruitlands and Brook Farm–and intimate sketches of Emerson’s friends and contemporaries, including Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Thomas Carlyle, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and others.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 2
Emerson’s incomparable brilliance as a prose writer has often overshadowed his remarkable gifts as a poet. Gathering both published and unpublished work, this Library of America edition makes available for the first time to general readers the full range of Emerson’s poetry, including many poems left in manuscript at his death that have hitherto been available only in drastically edited versions or specialized scholarly texts. Displacing all previous editions in its comprehensiveness and textual authority, this volume reveals the ecstatic, mystical, and private meditative sides of one of the greatest of all American writers.

All the poetry Emerson published during his lifetime is included in this single volume. His collections, Poems (1847), May-Day and Other Pieces (1867), and Selected Poems (1876), as well as other pieces written for magazines, fuse close observations of the New England landscape with far-reaching spiritual explorations. His familiarity with botany and geology, Greek philosophy, Persian poetry, and anti-slavery politics gives his writing an intellectual breadth, and a challenging, continuing modernity unique among American poets of his time.

More than half the volume is devoted to a generous selection of poetry from Emerson’s journals and notebooks, ranging from his childhood to his final years as a writer. This work—printed here as Emerson wrote it, without the revisions imposed by earlier editors—is a revelation: a bounty of formal experimentation and speculative thought that displays, as in a painter’s sketchbook, the creative process at work.

Also included are Emerson’s little-known poetic translations, chiefly from the Persian poets Hafiz and Saadi, whose fusion of sensuality and mysticism so profoundly influenced his poetic thinking. With them is the complete La Vita Nuova (The New Life), Dante’s meditation on love that Emerson translated into English for the first time.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 1
Our most eloquent champion of individualism, Emerson acknowledges at the same time the countervailing pressures of society in American life. Even as he extols what he called “the great and crescive self,” he dramatizes and records its vicissitudes.

Here are all the indispensable and most renowned works, including “The American Scholar” (“our intellectual Declaration of Independence,” as Oliver Wendell Holmes called it), “The Divinity School Address,” considered atheistic by many of his listeners, the summons to “Self-Reliance,” along with the more embattled realizations of “Circles” and, especially, “Experience.” Here, too, are his wide-ranging portraits of Montaigne, Shakespeare, and other “representative men,” and his astute observations on the habits, lives, and prospects of the English and American people.

This volume includes Emerson’s well-known Nature; Addresses, and Lectures (1849), his Essays: First Series (1841) and Essays: Second Series (1844), plus Representative Men (1850), English Traits (1856), and his later book of essays, The Conduct of Life (1860). These are the works that established Emerson’s colossal reputation in America and found him admirers abroad as diverse as Carlyle, Nietzsche, and Proust. The reasons for Emerson’s influence and durability will be obvious to any reader who follows the exhilarating, exploratory movements of his mind in this uniquely full gathering of his work.

Not merely another selection of his essays, this volume includes all his major books in their rich entirety. No other volume conveys so comprehensively the exhilaration and exploratory energy of perhaps America’s greatest writer.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
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