Cover

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

This book owes many debts and aims to honor them, knowing that gifts cannot be repaid. Once again, the department at the University of Oregon has been uniformly supportive, particularly Mark Johnson and Scott Pratt. (The sabbatical was very helpful too.) ...

List of Abbreviations

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p. xi

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ONE Taking Emerson Personally

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pp. 1-25

In its widest scope, as far as I can see, turning in each direction, this work pursues Bildung, what I regard as a practice of self-culture, a studied, even labored effort to cultivate one’s life.1 Along Emerson’s path, which I will explore, interrogate, mostly champion—and, I hope, advance—self-culture centers us, more and less. ...

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TWO The Genius of Nature

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pp. 26-51

Where to next? Whereto in this task of taking Emerson personally, of self-culture sought through another’s, of articulating the space of an eloquent life in the spaces his articulations throw into relief, even open? Wherever, it will be a venture that must prove itself by way of the Emerson I find, ...

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THREE Reflecting Eloquence

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pp. 52-80

My concern is self-culture, the pursuit of a life that, thanks in part to our own labors, eloquently manifests our character. For better or for worse, I have taken up the project in terms somewhat summarized by Emerson around 1844–45: “A man should be a guest in his own house, and a guest in his own thought; ...

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FOUR Divining Becoming

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pp. 81-118

Conspiring with genius, native and ecstatic, Emersonian self-culture seeks a life that eloquently articulates a character to which we have abandoned ourselves. Eschewing apology and prospecting along the reaches its affinities afford, such a life unfolds a new creation, as much a fact as the sun, ...

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FIVE On the Edges of Our Souls

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pp. 119-140

Self-culture labors toward an eloquent life that in part manifests a character we’ve found ourselves able and willing to live out. And it does so with an eye on the full range of our being—word and deed, alone and among others, at home, in the market, wherever our reach runs. Not that eloquence entails a thorough self-mastery. ...

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SIX Commended Strangers, Beautiful Enemies

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pp. 141-167

Since chapter 4, I have been trying to elaborate a post-theological selfculture. Its goal is an eloquent life that presents, wherever possible, a character it both husbands and affirms, and without forsaking momentary occurrences for “periods in which mortal lifetime is lost.” ...

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SEVEN Tending to Reform

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pp. 168-194

An eloquent life orients the labors of Emersonian self-culture. Our genius, in native and ecstatic flurries, each a mooded disclosure, gives us prospects that we might essay. The result should be a character whose contours and course we have both affirmed and, to a certain extent, shaped. ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 195-198

I began this book hoping to articulate, defend, and conduct Emersonian self-culture. In both my thematic reflections and my rhetorical performances, I wanted to proceed in a manner true to its course, full of honor for its friends, and consistently equal to whatever occasions arose. ...

Notes

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pp. 199-212

Bibliography

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pp. 213-218

Index

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pp. 219-226