Emerson and Thoreau

Emerson and Thoreau : Figures of Friendship

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This lively volume explores the theme of friendship in the lives and works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Written from diverse perspectives, the essays offer close readings of selected texts and draw on letters and journals to offer a comprehensive view of how Emerson's and Thoreau's friendships took root and bolstered their individual political, social, and ethical projects. This collection explores how Emerson and Thoreau, in their own ways, conceived of friendship as the creation of shared meaning in light of personal differences, tragedy and loss, and changing life circumstances. Emerson and Thoreau presents important reflections on the role of friendship in the lives of individuals and in global culture.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 222 pages
  • 157.48 x 233.68 x 12.7mm | 362.87g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253221439
  • 9780253221438

Review quote

Emerson & Thoreau: Figures of Friendship... offers compelling biographical background on [Emerson and Thoreau's] famous friendship, as well as insightful scholarship on their main writings about friendship: Emerson's essay `Friendship,' and the `Wednesday' section of Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849).... The book's aspiration is to be that rare hybrid: an academic work urgent enough to change a reader's life.... In both Emerson and Thoreau's thinking, friendship is indispensable in bringing about our better selves: our flourishing cannot occur without the challenges and opportunities for growth our friends provide us.#80 2010 -- Scott Parker * Philosophy Now * This thought-provoking collection offers valuable insights not only about Emerson and Thoreau but also about the ways in which their views of friendship resonate today. December 2010, Vol. 83, no. 4 * The New England Quarterly * In their new book, John T. Lysaker and William Rossi have assembled a set of excellent scholarly essays that situate Emerson and Thoreau in the tradition of Western thinking about friendship stretching from Plato to Derrida. * Times Literary Supplement * Emerson & Thoreau rises above the rest in that it sheds light not only on ideas but on the human interests that imbue them sometimes with beauty, occasionally with virtue, and too often with tragedy.V.6.2 Summer 2011 * The Pluralist * Lysaker and Rossi believe that by studying Thoreau and Emerson's unique friendship and also their writing on the subject of friendship one can learn much about the mysterious and sometimes contradictory elements that tie all humans in friendship. . . . Close examination of their written essays, letters, and journals does in fact enrich understanding of what the two men experienced. . . . Recommended. * Choice * [T]his splendid volume ... is a substantial contribution to our understanding of the friendship between Emerson and Thoreau, and of nineteenth century literary culture more generally.Vol. 22.1 Spring 2011 * Emerson Society Papers *show more

About John T. Lysaker

John T. Lysaker is Professor and Head of Philosophy at the University of Oregon. He is author of Emerson and Self-Culture (IUP, 2008).William Rossi is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in English at the University of Oregon. He is editor of Walden and Resistance to Civil Government and several volumes of Thoreau's works, including Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Other Writings and Journal, volumes 3 and 6.show more

Table of contents

AcknowledgmentsAbbreviations for Emerson, Thoreau, and Carlyle CitationsIntroduction / John T. Lysaker and William RossiPart 1. Transcendental Contexts 1. Transcendental Friendship: An Oxymoron? / Lawrence Buell 2. Forgiving the Giver: Emerson, Carlyle, Thoreau / Barbara PackerPart 2. Emerson's "Friendship" 3. "In the Golden Hour of Friendship": Transcendentalism and Utopian Desire / David M. Robinson 4. Emerson and Skepticism: A Reading of "Friendship" / Russell B. Goodman 5. On the Faces of Emersonian "Friendship" / John T. LysakerPart 3. Thoreau's Divergent Melodies 6. "In Dreams Awake": Loss, Transcendental Friendship, and Elegy / William Rossi 7. "Let Him Be to Me a Spirit": Paradoxes of True Friendship in Emerson and Thoreau / Alan D. HodderPart 4. Giving Friendship for Life 8. Giving Friendship: The Perichoresis of an All-Embracing Service / James Crosswhite 9. Leaving and Bequeathing: Friendship, Moral Perfectionism, and the Gleam of Light / Naoko SaitoWorks CitedList of ContributorsIndexshow more

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