At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


Buell, Lawrence. Emerson. Harvard.

Choice: "In this book Buell (Harvard) distills a lifetime of study and teaching on Emerson. Its tone is easy and confident, friendly and inviting...There are fresh analyses of Emerson's contributions to individualism, religion, literature, philosophy, and social reform. Unique are Buell's efforts to "globalize" Emerson, to explore and emphasize him as an international figure with cross-cultural resources. Essential. All collections; all levels." Library Journal: “Wide-ranging in scope and meticulous in attention to detail, Emerson is best suited to the specialist but still accessible to the novice. Highly recommended.” Common-place: “What Buell has to say here about Emerson is not only persuasive but also consistently interesting, surprisingly original, and, best of all, written in straightforward, lucid language. Buell’s discussion of the relationship between Emerson and his prize pupil, Henry David Thoreau, is brilliant. Emerson’s relationships to such religious issues as the decline of Calvinism and the rise of biblical criticism are virtually ignored…Buell’s least interesting chapter (to me) was ‘Emersonian poetics,’ a somewhat in-group discussion intended to salvage Emerson’s reputation from the attacks of politically correct literary critics.” National Review: “a useful book bringing the general educated reader up to date on where we now stand regarding Emerson. Emerson still has much to say to us today, as Buell demonstrates with great competence." New England Quarterly: "Buell proceeds through a series of topics that have already been treated, often with more nuance, by other scholars. Buell is not a fastidious scholar and frequently gets things wrong: titles, dates, names, the sense of Emerson's text. Buell is equally shaky when it comes to Emersonian textual scholarship. Problematic assertions abound. Emerson will be admired by Buell's fans. it is free wheeling, almost funky, and is not afraid to take critical risks. But those who are looking for a more reliable view of the sage of Concord may wish to reutrn to the work of Robert D. Richardson, Jr., and Gay Wilson Allen."


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