Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was one of the seminal figures in American intellectual history, literature and culture. In his time he was the acknowledged leader of the Trascendentalist movement; his poetic legacy stretches from Walt Whitman to Allen Ginsberg; his educational ideals have been embraced by many; and his religious concepts greatly influenced the development of the Unitarian (later Unitarian Universalist) church. The impetus for this book is the bicentennial celebration of Emerson's birth, ""Emerson in 2003"", organized by the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society in Boston and Concord, which begins with a large exhibition at Harvard in March 2003. Reprinted in this work are the most important adulatory and critical first-hand accounts by many major and minor literary figures in Britain and the United States as well as by Emerson's children. From Whitman's record of his visit to Emerson in Concord to Bronson Alcott's reports on his personality, from Jane and Thomas Carlyle's comments on their meetings with him during his visits to Britain to Margaret Fuller's and John Muir's reminiscences, these recollections provide wide-ranging desceriptions of his life and time. Each entry is prefaced by an essay that provides contextual and historical information, and the volume includes a chronology of Emerson's life.
Ronald Bosco is Distinguished Service Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Albany, Suny, and editor of the Emerson Papers at the Houghton Library at Harvard University. Past president of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, he is currently president of the Thoreau Society. Joel Myerson is Carolina Distinguished Professor of American Literature at the University of South Carolina. Both editors are coordinating Emerson in 2003.