Historical Context

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

New England Transcendentalism
Transcendentalism took root in New England in the mid-1830s in reaction against the rationalism...

(The entire section is 754 words.)

Literary Style

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Rational Argument
The essay is, above all, a carefully constructed rational argument with the goal of persuading readers to...

(The entire section is 899 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

‘‘Emerson: His Failure to Perceive the Meaning of Evil,’’ in The Cambridge History of English and American...

(The entire section is 364 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Allen, Gay Wilson. Waldo Emerson: A Biography. New York: Viking Press, 1981.

Bosco, Ronald A., and Joel Myerson, eds. Emerson in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2003.

Buell, Lawrence. Emerson. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003.

Goodman, Russell B. American Philosophy and the Romantic Tradition. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Jacobson, David. Emerson’s Pragmatic Vision: The Dance of the Eye. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993.

Lopez, Michael. Emerson and Power: Creative Antagonism in the Nineteenth Century. De Kalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1996.

Myerson, Joel, ed. A Historical Guide to Ralph Waldo Emerson. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Porte, Joel, and Saundra Morris, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Richardson, Robert D. Emerson: The Mind on Fire. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Robinson, David M. Emerson and the Conduct of Life: Pragmatism and Ethical Purpose in the Later Work. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Sacks, Kenneth S. Understanding Emerson: “The American Scholar” and His Struggle for Self-Reliance. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003.

Yanella, Donald. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Boston: Twayne, 1982.

Compare and Contrast

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Mid-1800s: Transcendentalism, which borrows some elements of Eastern philosophies and religions, takes hold in Massachusetts and...

(The entire section is 327 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Emerson mentions many accomplished men in "Self-Reliance." List five to ten people who have lived since Emerson's time who are examples of...

(The entire section is 220 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Essays: First and Second Series (1990), edited by Douglas Crase, combines all of the essays that Emerson originally published in two...

(The entire section is 181 words.)