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Emerson Selected Journals 1841-1877 (Library of America) [Hardcover]

Ralph Waldo Emerson , Lawrence Rosenwald
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1021 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America (April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598530682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598530681
  • Product Dimensions: 20.7 x 14.1 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,207,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Hardcover
When people ask me why I think Emerson is America's greatest thinker and essayist, I have trouble explaining it. Most people are used to reading Emerson's carefully crafted essays, which scintillate with ideas and lapidary prose. You can pull out lines and paragraphs from almost any of them and think about them for days, finding fractal ideas within them that resonate in your own mind.

But what really convinced me was when I started reading his journals. First, I had read some of the books available that contain excerpts from the journals; there are several, of varying length. Then I bought a set of the 1910 edition, edited by Emerson's son Edward, and started reading them. In ten volumes, with small pages and largish print, they are only slightly better than the one-volume editions of excerpts. Finally, I bought the 16-volume Harvard University Press edition - a massive expense - and am currently reading them (and posting my favorite excerpts on [...]readingemerson.com).

Reading Emerson's "private" writings - journals of this period were not diaries, but were often passed around, so Emerson knew that others would eventually read what his contained - showed me the type of thinker he really was. When he writes extemporaneously, his ideas flow more fluidly, less densely than in his essays. While he reused parts of the journal for his sermons, at first, then, later, his essays, there is a spontaneity that one doesn't find in the published works.

So this Library of America edition is a boon for anyone wanting to discover Emerson's journals. I'm a big fan of the LoA books, for their choice of authors, and the quality and readability of the books themselves.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the finest personal writing of any American 14 May 2011
By Kirk McElhearn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When people ask me why I think Emerson is America's greatest thinker and essayist, I have trouble explaining it. Most people are used to reading Emerson's carefully crafted essays, which scintillate with ideas and lapidary prose. You can pull out lines and paragraphs from almost any of them and think about them for days, finding fractal ideas within them that resonate in your own mind.

But what really convinced me was when I started reading his journals. First, I had read some of the books available that contain excerpts from the journals; there are several, of varying length. Then I bought a set of the 1910 edition, edited by Emerson's son Edward, and started reading them. In ten volumes, with small pages and largish print, they are only slightly better than the one-volume editions of excerpts. Finally, I bought the 16-volume Harvard University Press edition - a massive expense - and am currently reading them (and posting my favorite excerpts on [...]).

Reading Emerson's "private" writings - journals of this period were not diaries, but were often passed around, so Emerson knew that others would eventually read what his contained - showed me the type of thinker he really was. When he writes extemporaneously, his ideas flow more fluidly, less densely than in his essays. While he reused parts of the journal for his sermons, at first, then, later, his essays, there is a spontaneity that one doesn't find in the published works.

So this Library of America edition is a boon for anyone wanting to discover Emerson's journals. I'm a big fan of the LoA books, for their choice of authors, and the quality and readability of the books themselves. These two volumes are my choice for bedside reading, and, while they only include some 1/6 of the full journals, that is more than enough for most people. (With the price of the HUP edition, affordability is another criterion to take into account.)

If you fall under Emerson's charm, these may end up being books that you read over and over, either starting over from the beginning each time you get to the end, or just dipping into them from time to time. Lawrence Rosenwald has made a judicious selection of journal entries, giving these two volumes a feeling of completeness, even if they are but a fraction of the whole.

Those wanting to go further might want to pick up (or borrow from a library), the obscenely expensive Emerson and the Art of the Diary, which looks at Emerson's production of his journals, and looks at journal writing in general. It's a fine handbook to accompany these two volumes. If only OUP would release an affordable paperback edition of the book, more readers of the journals would be likely to buy it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emerson's works should be in everyone's library, and read often. 9 Jun 2013
By N. Maclean - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Emerson is the kind of thinker and writer whose thoughts are so profound and timeless that you can't resist marking up the volumes of his books, or dog-earing the pages, or at the very least, copying passage after passage of his wisdom and practical take on life into your journal or day book. I believe that the Essays and Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson are essential reading for everyone, everywhere, in every generation, now, yesterday, and for generations to come. He is one of our national treasures and certainly among the top greatest thinkers and writers that this country has ever produced. As the noted essayist, Phillip Lopate, wrote in his recently published Portrait Inside My Head, I, too, am in love with Emerson! One becomes a better person by having read him. And then returned to read him again. And then again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good book 3 Jan 2013
By sherm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Love it great book helped me a lot , his words are very empowering. Will be one book that i keep for a life time.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Emerson's Thoughts 4 July 2012
By Tony Marquise Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the great writers of American literature. He is well known for his poems-many of which are great. He is also well known for his journals(three volumes from The Library of America). They are mostly good, with a few spots in them that are great. But the only way I could recommend them is if the reader is as interested in Emerson the man as much as Emerson the poet.
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nicely done 5 Jun 2010
By W. Trosky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This whole series is very nicely done! I purchased the 3 Steinbeck books for myself and the 4 Emerson books for my girlfriend.

The presentation is very nice, the binding, the bookkmark ribbon, the print and paper quality. I'm an iPad/Kindle guy but it's nice to hold a real book of quality once in a while.
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