Emerson, Thoreau, and the Role of the Cultural Critic
SUNY Press, 2001 M01 1 - 174 pages
Emerson, Thoreau, and the Role of the Cultural Critic offers an important reinterpretation of the central works of two key figures in American letters. Drawing upon the work of several important contemporary thinkers--including Michael Walzer, Alisdair MacIntrye, Charles Taylor, and Stanley Cavell--Sam McGuire Worley argues that the mature thought of Emerson and Thoreau is deeply imbedded in community, and that their best social criticism is immanent rather than transcendent in character. Their encounters with specific historical figures such as Daniel Webster, Theodore Parker, and John Brown reveal a political philosophy that cannot easily be labeled liberal or conservative, and a meticulous reconsideration of their political writings and their encounter with abolitionism show both to be working with as complex and ironic a vision of self and community as can be found in antebellum American letters.
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