Representative Men Analysis


Allen, Gay Wilson. Waldo Emerson: A Biography. New York: Viking, 1981. An excellent research tool. Addresses Representative Men: Seven Lectures in a thorough, accessible style. Pertinent and lucid discussion focuses on Emerson’s thought as it is expressed in his choices of representative men. Makes reference to Emerson’s journals and their value for understanding Emerson’s texts.

Berry, Edmund G. Emerson’s Plutarch. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1961. Pages 86-245 make nineteen valuable references to Emerson’s work in Representative Men: Seven Lectures. Assesses the influence of Plutarch upon Emerson’s thought.

Cameron, Kenneth Walter, ed. Literary Comment in American Renaissance Newspapers: Fresh Discoveries Concerning Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott and Transcendentalism. Hartford, Conn.: Transcendental Books, 1977. Includes an evaluation of Representative Men: Seven Lectures published in New York Weekly Tribune in 1850. Offers interesting insight into the work’s strengths and weaknesses.

Carpenter, Frederic Ives. Emerson Handbook. New York: Hendricks House, 1967. Primary information for background understanding of the ideas behind Emerson’s essays. Addresses shaping influences of Emerson’s thought. Bibliographies.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. 1820-24. Vol. 1 in Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Edited by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Waldo Emerson Forbes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990. Some journal entries go back to Emerson’s youth. In this volume, the young Emerson presents ideas that find their way into his adult work, Representative Men: Seven Lectures. Brief readings include “Martyrdom” (136), “Habit” (136-137), “Men of God” (230-231), and “Aristocracy” (311-312). Instills a deeper appreciation of Emerson’s insights.