Ralph Waldo Emerson
Selected Journals 1841–1877
“For several months I have been camping out in the mind of Ralph Waldo Emerson. It is a companionable, familiar, and yet endlessly stimulating place, and, since his mind his stronger than mine, I keep referring to his wisdom, even his doubts, and quite shamelessly identifying with him. All this started when I came across in a local bookstore the new, two-volume edition of his Selected Journals, published by The Library of America, and I decided to give it a whirl. Some 1,900 pages later, I am in thrall to, in love with, Mr. Emerson.”—PHILLIP LOPATE, HARPER’S
Read an exclusive interview with volume editor Lawrence Rosenwald (PDF, 95 KB)
Read an excerpt, Emerson on race, the Fugitive Slave Law, and civil disobedience (PDF, 37 KB)
Read an excerpt, Emerson on the death of his son (PDF, 39 KB)
Emerson’s journals—begun when he was 16, and ultimately comprising over three million words—were his life’s work. The starting point for virtually everything in his essays, lectures, and poems, and a fascinating diary in the ordinary sense of the term, they reveal “the infinitude of the private man”: an Emerson by turns whimsical, incisive, passionate, curious, and candid. With this volume and its companion, Selected Journals 1820–1842, The Library of America presents the most comprehensive nonspecialist edition of Emerson’s great work ever published.
The present 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). Along the way, he laments untimely losses: his first-born son Waldo at the age of five, and his friends Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller. By the end of his life, Emerson was a revered national figure; the volume includes his final journal writings.
Edited by Lawrence Rosenwald—Anne Pierce Rogers Professor of American Literature at Wellesley College and author of Emerson and the Art of the Diary—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.Save $40 when you buy all four Ralph Waldo Emerson volumes.
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