From Emerson to King: Democracy, Race, and the Politics of Protest

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byAnita Haya Patterson

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This book traces a provocative line from Emerson's work on race, reform, and identity to work by three influential African- American thinkers--W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., and Cornel West--each of whom offers subtle engagement with both the tradition of written protest and thecritique of liberalism Emerson shaped. Emerson has been cast in recent debate as either an antinomian or an ideologue--as either subversive of institutional controls or indebted to capitalism. Here, Patterson contributes a more nuanced view, probing Emerson's record and its cultural and historicalmatrix to document a fundamental rhetoric of contradiction--a strategic aligning of opposed political concepts--that enabled him to both affirm and critique elements of the liberal democratic model. Drawing richly on topics in political philosophy, law, religion, and cultural history, Pattersonexamines the nature and implications of Emerson's contradictory rhetoric in parts I and II. In part III she considers Emerson's legacy from the perspective of African-American intellectual history, identifying fresh continuities and crucial discontinuities between the canonical strain of protestwriting Emerson helped establish and African-American literary and philosophical traditions.

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This book traces a provocative line from Emerson's work on race, reform, and identity to work by three influential African- American thinkers--W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., and Cornel West--each of whom offers subtle engagement with both the tradition of written protest and thecritique of liberalism Emerson shaped. Emerson ...

Anita Haya Patterson is at University of Illinois at Chicago.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.49 × 6.46 × 0.79 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195109155

ISBN - 13:9780195109153

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"Sommer guides us through exciting intellectual terrain that includes incisive considerations of [various] theorists. She challenges us and trains us to unlearn our desire for readerly mastery. Therein lies the intellectual and political mastery of [the book]."--American Literature