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A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson
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From before the Civil War until his death in 1882, Ralph Waldo Emerson was renowned—and renounced—as one of the United States’ most prominent abolitionists and as a leading visionary of the nation’s liberal democratic future. Following his death, however, both Emerson’s political activism and his political thought faded from public memory, replaced by the myth of the genteel man of letters and the detached sage of individualism. In the 1990s, scholars rediscovered Emerson’s antislavery writings and began reviving his legacy as a political activist. A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson is the first collection to evaluate Emerson’s political thought in light of his recently rediscovered political activism. What were Emerson’s politics? A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson authoritatively answers this question with seminal essays by some of the most prominent thinkers ever to write about Emerson—Stanley Cavell, George Kateb, Judith N. Shklar, and Wilson Carey McWilliams—as well as many of today’s leading Emerson scholars. With an introduction that effectively destroys the “pernicious myth about Emerson’s apolitical individualism” by editors Alan M. Levine and Daniel S. Malachuk, A Political Companion to Emerson reassesses Emerson’s famous theory of self-reliance in light of his antislavery politics, demonstrates the importance of transcendentalism to his politics, and explores the enduring significance of his thought for liberal democracy. Including a substantial bibliography of work on Emerson’s politics over the last century, A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson is an indispensable resource for students of Emerson, American literature, and American political thought, as well as for those who wrestle with the fundamental challenges of democracy and liberalism.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Series page
  2. p. ii
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  1. TItle page
  2. p. iii
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  1. Copyright page
  2. p. iv
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Series Foreword
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Abbreviations
  2. p. xi
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  1. Introduction: The New History of Emerson's Politics and His Philosophy of Self-Reliance
  2. pp. 1-40
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  1. Part I
  2. pp. 41-42
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  1. Chapter 1. Emerson: THe All and the One
  2. pp. 43-52
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  1. Chapter 2. Emerson and the Inhibitions of Democracy
  2. pp. 53-68
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  1. Chapter 3. Self-Reliance, Politics, and Society
  2. pp. 69-90
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  1. Chapter 4. Aversive Thinking: Emersonian Representations in Heidegger and Nietzsche
  2. pp. 91-122
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  1. Part II
  2. pp. 123-124
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  1. Chapter 5. Self-Reliance and Complicity: Emerson's Ethics of Citizenship
  2. pp. 125-151
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  1. Chapter 6. The Limits of Self-Reliance: Emerson, Slavery, and Abolition
  2. pp. 152-184
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  1. Chapter 7. Emerson, Self-Reliance, and the Politics of Democracy
  2. pp. 185-220
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  1. Part III
  2. pp. 221-222
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  1. Chapter 8. Skeptical Triangle? A Comparison of the Political Thought of Emerson, Nietzsche, and Montaigne
  2. pp. 223-264
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  1. Chapter 9. Emerson's Politics, Retranscendentalized
  2. pp. 265-304
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  1. Chapter 10. Emerson's Transcendental Gaze and the "Disagreeable Particulars" of Slavery: Vision and the Costs of Idealism
  2. pp. 305-340
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  1. Part IV
  2. pp. 341-342
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  1. Chapter 11. Property in Being: Liberalism and the Language of Ownership in Emerson's Writing
  2. pp. 343-382
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  1. Chapter 12. Standing for Others: Reform and Representation in Emerson's Political Thought
  2. pp. 383-414
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  1. Chapter 13. Emerson's Democratic Platonism in Representative Men
  2. pp. 415-450
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  1. Selected Bibliography
  2. pp. 451-462
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 463-466
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 467-487
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