The Emerson Effect

The Emerson Effect

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This book presents a revisionist account of Ralph Waldo Emerson's influential thought on individualism, in particular his political psychology. Christopher Newfield analyzes the interplay of liberal and authoritarian impulses in Emerson's work in various domains: domestic life, the changing New England economy, theories of poetic language, homoerotic friendship, and racial hierarchy. Focusing on neglected later writings, Newfield shows how Emerson explored the tensions between autonomy and communitya€”and consistently resolved these tensions by qabandoning crucial elements of bothq and redefining autonomy as a kind of liberating subjection. He argues that in Emersonian individualism, self-determination is accompanied by submission to authority, and examines the influence of this submissive individualism on the history of American liberalism. In a provocative reading of Emerson's early and neglected later works, Newfield analyzes Emerson's emphasis on collective, or qcorporateq, world-building, rather than private possession. Tracing the development of this corporate individualism, he illuminates contradictions in Emerson's political outlook, and the conjunctions of liberal and authoritarian ideology they produced.arises from a social self that is aquot;prepared to recognize othersaquot; as part of itself.20 Again and again, Emerson is seen to ... In his flagship essay, aquot;Self-Reliance, aquot; Emerson begins his third paragraph this way: aquot;Trust thyself: every heart vibrates toanbsp;...

Title:The Emerson Effect
Author:Christopher Newfield
Publisher:University of Chicago Press - 1996-01-15


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