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Book Reviews 185 Commission, had little effect on coverage of Native America. Thus images of the Indian remained generic, denying the heterogeneity of Indian people. The press judged the Indian by the standards of White society (rather than by their own standards), and consistently interwove the examination of Indians and their institutions with moral judgments about them. The strengths of Weston's analysis far outweigh any weaknesses. The argumentation and evidence are clear. Certainly, she has done solid research-her bibliography lists no fewer than twenty-three newspapers and forty-two periodicals, with no "significant" omissions. Nevertheless, the lack of any oral history was troubling; the insights of participating journalists would have added substantially to the research base. Several of the case studies are too briefly written up. While the decision to concentrate on the print media is valid, it is hard to ignore the impact of television when (as the author herself affirms) that medium served increasingly as the style setter for the print journalism during the postwar decades. Even a brief concluding chapter would have been very helpful. Finally, while the role of the press in shaping public images of Native America is ably revealed, the promised link between such imagery and the shaping of public policy is less successfully carried out. Patrick H. Brennan University of Calgary Christopher Newfield. The Emerson Effect: Individualism and Submission in America. Chicago and London: Chicago University Press, 1996. Pp. 278. Instead of considering Emerson as the spokesperson of archetypal American individualism, Christopher Newfield applies the post-colonial theories associated with Frederic Jamieson to argue persuasively that Emerson was the unwitting mouthpiece of the "political unconscious" of liberal American society. Gone is the Emerson who had a moral vision for Americans because that vision is seen to be based on rhetorical persuasion, on the one hand, and, on the other, to consist of verbalizations intended to smooth over the inherent contradictions in the ideology of American liberalism. 186 Canadian Review of American Studies Revue canadienned'etudesamerzcaines Emerson's writings, as the subtitle suggests, demands that an individual undergo a self-disciplined "submission" to a "higher ideaP' of agency and power which, in effect, is American "corporate" capitalism and which validates the power of America's social, economic, and political leaders. The problem of American liberalism is, in Hegel's terms, the conflict between a "liberty" of "agency" that makes one individual a "master" over a "slave" and an "equality" in which "agency" is "natural. 11 In the American ideology of "corporate" liberalism, an individual's selfhood derives from accepting the code which alone can justify one's agency and power, supposedly making all persons "equal." Unfortunately, in Newfield's analysis, this compromise is mere double-talk because liberal "corporate agency11 essentially is tied to a traditional hierarchical system of power that oppresses individuals further down the "corporate" ladder. Consequently, Newfield argues that Emerson's importance is not his "ideas,11 which are often contradictory, but his "effect" in smoothing out this contradiction. What makes Newfield's critique unique among recent revisionists is his analysis of Emerson's theory of language as a rhetoric shaped for ideological purposes. "The Emerson effect" is actually a control over "consciousness," and Newfield, an Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is astute in decoding Emerson's language in his letters, journals and several major essays, primarily the individualism of "Self-Reliance" and the corporate spirit of "The Over-Soul." But it is the seminal study of 1836, Nature (Essays and Lectures, ed. by Joel Porte, 1983, Literary Classics of the United States), which defines Emerson's three-step logic of incorporating the individual with a "higher order:" Language is a third use which Nature subserves to man. Nature is the vehicle of thought, and in a simple, double, and threefold degree. 1. Words are signs of natural facts. 2. Particular natural facts are symbols of particular spiritual facts. 3. Nature is the symbol of spirit. (20) For Newfield, this three-step vehicle translates into (1) words being factually based on perceptual experience, (2) words being a matter of "mind" or what the mind wishes to symbolize, and (3) the meaning of words...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 185-188
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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