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Emerson and the Conduct of Life : Pragmatism and Ethical Purpose in the Later Work - David M. Robinson

Emerson and the Conduct of Life

Pragmatism and Ethical Purpose in the Later Work

Hardcover

Published: 29th October 1993
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In Emerson and the Conduct of Life, David M. Robinson describes Ralph Waldo Emerson's evolution from mystic to pragmatist, stressing the importance of Emerson's undervalued later writing. Emerson's reputation has rested on the addresses and essays of the 1830s and 1840s, in which he propounded a version of transcendental idealism, and memorably portrayed moments of mystical insight. But Emerson's later writings suggest an increasing concern over the elusiveness of mysticism, and an increasing stress on ethical choice and practical power. These works reveal Emerson as an ethical philosopher who stressed the spiritual value of human relations, work and social action.

"[a] mature, well reasoned, and readable study...Robinson expertly and in a pleasantly unemphatic way contextualizes Emerson's later essays and lectures within both Emerson's own biography and the social and economic realities of nineteenth-century American and British life...David M. Robinson's well-written, carefully researched, and sincerely argued presentation of Emerson's pragmatism and ethical purpose in the second half of the nineteenth century serves also to point to a sensibility that, I think, is much needed now." Gertrude Reif Hughes, Nineteenth Century Literature "...David Robinson has established himself as one of our subtlest and most deeply sympathetic readers of Emerson...Emerson and the Conduct of Life...will become standard reading." Kenneth Dauber, American Literature "...[a] mature, well reasoned, and readable study...David M. Robinson's well-written, carefull researched, and sincerely argued presentation of Emerson's pragmatism and ethical purpose n the second half of the nineteenth century serves also to point to a sensibity that, I think, is much needed now." Gertrude Reif Hughes, Wesleyan University, Nineteenth-Century Literature "His sensitive readings of individual and pairs of essays, and his refreshing attention to mood and range of works provide illuminating insight into the compelling and contradictory writings of the later Emerson." Jane Goldman, Journal of American Studies "In a series of wonderfully penetrating and innovative close readings Robinson explores the 'pragmatic turn' in Emerson's oeuvre...Robinson makes us aware of a deepening commitment to social ethics in Emerson from the early essays through the late works...Emerson and the Conduct of Life, for this reader and for all its specific emphasis, belongs with the select company of indispensable work on Emerson." Herwig Friedl, ZAA

Acknowledgments
List of abbreviations
Introduction
The mystic and the self-made saint
Politics and ecstasy
The text of experience
'Here or nowhere': Essays: second series
The eclipse of the hero: Representative Men
The old and new worlds: English Traits
'Work is victory': The conduct of Life
'Plain living and high thinking': Society and Solitude
Toward a grammar of the moral life
Notes
Works cited
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521444972
ISBN-10: 0521444977
Series: Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 248
Published: 29th October 1993
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.54