Emerson and the Conduct of Life: Pragmatism and Ethical Purpose in the Later Work

Paperback | February 12, 2009

byDavid M. Robinson

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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.

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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...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 9.02 × 5.98 × 0.55 inPublished:February 12, 2009Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:052110131X

ISBN - 13:9780521101318

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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. The Mystic and the Self-made Saint; 2. Politics and Ecstasy; 3. The Text of Experience; 4. 'Here or Nowhere': Essays: Second Series; 5. The Eclipse of the Hero: Representative Men; 6. The Old and New Worlds: English Traits; 7. 'Work is Victory': The Conduct of Life; 8. 'Plain Living and High Thinking': Society and Solitude; 9. Toward a Grammar of the Moral Life; Notes; Works Cited; Index.

Editorial Reviews

"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