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Mr. Emerson's Revolution

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Jean McClure Mudge

Emerson's Legacy in America

5. Spawning a Wide New Consciousness

Jean McClure Mudge

Texte intégral

This is my boast that I have no school & no follower. I should account it a measure of the impurity of insight, if it [my thought] did not create independence.
Emerson,
Journal, 1859

  • 1 The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 16 vols, eds. William H. Gilman, e (...)

1On the lecture circuit, Emerson was a provoking charmer — a conscious persona he projected for what he called his new “art” or “theater.” This style was vital to his goal: to speak “fully, symmetrically, gigantically... not dwarfishly & fragmentarily.” Such an ambition required his most felt, practiced expression to touch, incite, and challenge. In 1844, someone was overheard to say, “The secret of his popularity is that he has a damn for everybody.”1 But Emerson deliberately irritated to inspire change. Most who heard him — whether comprehending, baffled or offended — were magnetized.

  • 2 Robert D. Richardson, Jr., Emerson: The Mind on Fire (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, (...)

2In 1868, James Russell Lowell, assessing the effect of Emerson’s lecturing — his appearances would soon total 1,500 over four decades2 — called him America’s “most steadily attractive lecturer.”

5.1 James Russell Lowell at 49, 1868.

5.2 Emerson’s top hat, [n. d.].

  • 3 James Russell Lowell, “My Study Windows” (1971) in Emerson in His Own Time, eds. Ronald A. Bosco an (...)

3Lowell professed, “We do not go to hear what Emerson says so much as to hear Emerson.” The man seemed to be his message. Lowell described a typical audience as swept by a “rustle of sensation” as Emerson’s “pithier thought, some keener flash of that humor... played about the horizon of his mind like heat-lightning....” Lowell particularly pointed to Emerson’s talent to raise “the supreme and everlasting originality of whatever bit of soul might be in any of us....”3 The real secret of his popularity, then, lay in inciting audiences to their deepest imaginative and spiritual possibilities.

4This gift reflected the thoroughly modern aspect of Emerson’s revolutionary message. From his first published words in the 1830s — Nature, “The American Scholar,” and “The Divinity School” addresses — he had invited fresh views on any inherited matter, encouraged experimental thinking, and, in general, reflected his own intention of absorbing the world’s chaos with the combined eyes of an inquisitive child and a cultured critic. His essay “Circles” expanded his key view of physical reality as constant flux, but guided by a higher spirit whose essence was moral law. This sense of a given contradiction at the heart of life — nature’s ceaseless state of transition under an abidingly ethical World Soul — made ambiguity, paradox, and irony unsurprising to him.

  • 4 JMN 14: 258.

5Seized by the exciting fluidity of his “new philosophy,” Emerson wanted to share it, yet avoid making disciples. He dearly valued friends of intellectual quality and true affection. But as seen in Chapter 2, his essays “Love” and “Friendship” (1841) clearly reflected his sense of the limits of even the most intimate personal relationships. He needed to keep his core self as private as possible, and he wanted to guard his working time. Above all, he would cultivate no disciples. Emerson told his journal, “This is my boast that I have no school & no follower. I should account it a measure of the impurity of insight, if it did not create independence.”4 He would encourage those attuned to morality’s natural law and already confident self-starters, certainly not worshippers or sycophants. From near and far, however, disciples came, and by blossoming beyond him, fulfilled his primary wish. A. Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau had formed a first nucleus. Afterward, five leading figures — Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, William James, and Frank Lloyd Wright — caught Emerson’s fire, refashioning and adding to his thought in politics, poetry, philosophy, and the arts.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

  • 5 John McAleer, Ralph Waldo Emerson: Days of Encounter (Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown & Co., 1984), 56 (...)

6Emerson’s influence on Lincoln reached a climax at a crucial time, just as Lincoln was considering emancipation in the year 1862. For at least nine years before, and probably earlier, Lincoln had known about Emerson. In contrast, Emerson first took note of Lincoln only after he had won the Republican presidential nomination in 1860, registering the news, as he put it, “coldly and sadly.”5 Lincoln continued to champion the Union over emancipation, while Emerson had rapidly become one of its foremost advocates. Though both men opposed slavery, they were on different timetables, and for separate reasons, toward its abolition. Emerson’s measured advancement of this cause would shortly bring them face to face. In retrospect, their encounter seems almost inevitable.

  • 6 Interviews of James H. Matheny by W. H. Herndon, 1865-1855; Lincoln favored Shakespeare, Byron, and (...)
  • 7 David H. Donald, Lincoln (New York: Simon & Shuster, 1995), 100-01.

7Lincoln’s exposure to Emerson probably came first through the library of his law partner William H. Herndon, or “Billy,” as Lincoln called his young fellow Kentuckian. In 1844, the two began their practice in Springfield, Illinois, the same year that Emerson joined forces with the abolitionists in his Concord speech and published Essays II. Lincoln and Herndon shared literary tastes, and both belonged to an informal “Poetical Society.”6 In an age of strong, even fierce regional loyalties, Herndon avowed that he regularly “turned New Englandwards for my ideas — my sentiments — my education.” Drawn to leading thinkers, he was particularly interested in the Transcendentalists.7

  • 8 Emanuel Hertz, The Hidden Lincoln: From the Letters and Papers of William H. Herndon (New York: The (...)
  • 9 See references to the National Anti-slavery Standard in Emerson’s Antislavery Writings, eds. Len Go (...)
  • 10 Ibid.
  • 11 Donald, 168.

8Herndon kept his growing library in the office he shared with Lincoln, and would later list Emerson first among world-class writers to be found there. He reported, “Mr. Lincoln had access to all such books as I had and frequently read parts of the volumes, such as struck his fancy. I used to read to him passages in the books that struck me as eloquent, grand, poetical, philosophic, and the like.”8 Herndon also subscribed to abolitionist newsletters, among them the National Anti-Slavery Standard, Emancipator, and National Era, in the first of which Lincoln would have regularly been able to read positive reviews of Emerson’s abolitionist addresses. He collected speeches of leading East Coast abolitionists. Friends sent him Garrison’s Liberator, to which Emerson contributed.9 In addition, Herndon “kept on my table” speeches by notable abolitionists — Parker, Giddings, Phillips, Sumner, Steward, and others, as well as antislavery histories and biographies. When he found “a good thing, a practical thing, I would read it to Lincoln. I urged him along as fast as I could.”10 Lincoln did not comment on his partner’s favorite authors,11 but he had had every opportunity to know about Emerson before he came to town.

  • 12 Von Frank, Chronology, 281; McAleer, 457; Lincoln Day By Day: A Chronology, 1809-1865, ed. Earl Sch (...)
  • 13 The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 10 vols., eds. Robert E. Spiller, et al. (Cambridge, Ma (...)

9That happened in 1853. From January 10-12, Emerson launched his lecturing in “the West” in Springfield, reading “The Anglo-Saxon,” “Power,” and “Culture” in the state House of Representatives. He stayed in what he called a “cabin” with a group of Illinois legislators, familiar to Lincoln from his days as a state legislator in the 1830s. In the 1840s, he had served as a U. S. Congressman.12 From their encouragement and Herndon’s, as well as his own curiosity, Lincoln may have heard all three of Emerson’s lectures, but if only one, it was probably “Power.” Its second sentence would have intrigued a man of Lincoln’s high ambition: “Who shall set a limit to the influence of a human being?” After the lecture, he may even have shaken hands with Emerson at a dinner in the Senate Chamber.13

5.3 Abraham Lincoln at 45, 27 October 1854.

  • 14 Herndon to Weik, 28 October 1885, Hidden Lincoln, 96.
  • 15 Abraham Lincoln to A. G. Hodges (April 4, 1864) and to Charles D. Robinson (August 17, 1864), The C (...)

10Seven years later in 1860, both men were at the peak of their careers and on the road to emancipation, though by quite different routes. Lincoln became an abolitionist in 1854, ten years after Emerson, when Senator Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. By his eloquence and character, Lincoln became his circle’s leader. But according to Herndon, he was “too conservative for some of us... and yet I stuck to Lincoln in the hopes of his sense of justice and eternal right.”14 Lincoln had always been politically wary on racial matters, a position only reinforced by winning the presidency without any Southern support. Separatism clearly threatened. He thus took his first duty as chief public servant to be the preservation of the country as a whole, with its slave-tolerant Constitution. He would not prioritize abolition. On the analogy of the human body, Lincoln argued that the life (unity) of the country was essential to the existence of any part.15 In contrast, by 1860, the independent scholar Emerson had been a strenuous abolitionist for sixteen years. His 1844 Concord speech had been angry enough. But when the Compromise of 1850 reinforced the Fugitive Slave Law, he spoke in white heat against the “slave power.” After war broke out in April 1861, Emerson, principled and firm, pressed for freeing the slaves immediately. Lincoln, beyond his official and political scruples, hoped to enlist both the Border States and former slaves to the Union side, and waited for a better military moment to press for such a change.

  • 16 Michael F. Conlin, “The Smithsonian Abolition Lecture Controversy: The Clash of Antislavery Politic (...)

11For abolitionists, that wait seemed interminable. In the first year of fighting, the North suffered huge setbacks while also failing to take opportunities against the South. Impatient abolitionists took their issue to Lincoln’s doorstep through the Washington Lecture Association (WLA), one of emancipation’s most active arms in the still slave-owning District of Columbia. From mid-December 1861 to April 1862, the WLA — one of whose leaders was Emerson’s friend, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner — sponsored a marathon, twenty-two-part lecture series on emancipation, held in the Smithsonian Institution, the capitol’s largest public hall. With Congress in winter session, speakers attracted the capitol’s political and social elite with an average attendance of over 1,000.16

  • 17 Ibid., 312-13.

12Just weeks before Emerson spoke, Horace Greeley, editor of the New-York Tribune, the country’s most widely distributed newspaper, had seized his moment to roundly criticize Lincoln, who was seated behind him on the platform. He first questioned Lincoln’s reversal of Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont’s grant of freedom to all slaves in Missouri. Then turning to face Lincoln, Greeley demanded that ending slavery must be the “sole purpose of the war.” The audience loudly applauded. Lincoln did not join in. Nor did he attend any other lectures in the series, including Emerson’s. But he did meet privately with later speakers.17

  • 18 JMN 15: 182.
  • 19 “American Civilization,” April 1862, CW 10: 394.
  • 20 Emerson could have read Mill’s nuanced version of Bentham’s utilitarianism in Fraser’s Magazine, se (...)

13Before leaving for Washington on 31 January 1862 for his turn in the series, Emerson was clearly primed to go, writing in his journal, “It is impossible to extricate oneself from the question in which your age is involved. You can no more keep out of politics than you can keep out of the frost.”18 Eagerness, however, did not make him confrontational. Unlike Greeley, Emerson came to Washington in an irenic mood, perhaps calmed by the high tone of his title, “American Civilization.” Beginning with a rhetorical search to define civilization, he finally settled on “the evolution of a highly organized man, brought to supreme delicacy of sentiment, as in practical power, religion, liberty, sense of honor, and taste.”19 Emerson elaborated on this theme, emphasizing morality as the great prize of civilization. He also announced the state’s highest goal: to secure “the greatest good of the greatest number” (John Stuart Mill’s refinement of Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarian maxim). The “greatest number” for Emerson, of course, included the slaves, or 12.5% of the population in 1860.20

14Turning to slavery, Emerson charged the South with vitiating the greatest good by “denying a man’s right to his labor.” He argued that humanity’s first purpose was to work, “the visible sign of his power.” The South’s institution (or as he put it, “destitution”) of slavery had stolen this most basic function from blacks and set back civilization’s progress. The South had become an oligarchy as compared to the North’s democracy. “Servile war” had been the result. In this situation, Emerson now presented the government, in effect Lincoln, with a challenge. Civilization required heroic, practical action. In this “new and exceptional age,” Emerson proclaimed, “America is another word for Opportunity.” A frugal Yankee himself, he was appealing to business-oriented America, rightly or wrongly stressing that for some decades slavery had proven to be quite unprofitable.

15Once again taking the long view, Emerson brought his speech to a climax by announcing, “Emancipation is the demand of civilization. That is a principle; everything else is intrigue. This... progressive policy,— puts every man in the South in just and natural relations with every man in the North, laborer with laborer.” Briefly summarizing familiar reasons for emancipation, he then posed a fresh and realistic option: Congress, whose duty was the country’s military defense, could independently issue an edict abolishing slavery, “and pay for such slaves as we ought to pay for.” This move would bring slaves near and far into the North’s armies. Yet the only permanent solution, Emerson acknowledged, would be an executive proclamation of emancipation, permissible to the president in wartime. He added, “The power of Emancipation is this, that it alters the atomic social constitution of the Southern people.” It would let poor whites, as well as blacks, earn wages for their labor, and therefore help unify society. Emerson followed with a crucial point: “Emancipation removes the whole objection to union.” Freeing the slaves, he argued, would only strengthen Lincoln’s first aim in fighting the war! True to form, Emerson added a moral note, “The measure at once puts all parties right.” Justice would then come to any race —“white, red, yellow or black.”

  • 21 CW 10: 410.

16Emerson’s ending illustrates how fully he had applied his Transcendentalism to the major social issue of his day and solidified his transformation into a pragmatic idealist. Simultaneously, he had elevated Lincoln, rather than chastised him. “Nature works through her appointed elements; and ideas must work through the brains and the arms of good and brave men, or they are no better than dreams.”21 Beyond Emerson’s flattery, Lincoln would have seen his clever, convincing point: socially and economically, emancipation would help preserve the Union. Emerson had shown Lincoln how his private preference for abolition might now be joined with his long-sought goal of keeping the nation together.

  • 22 Conlin, 317; Gay Wilson Allen, Waldo Emerson: A Biography (New York: Viking, 1981), 612.

17Only forty-eight hours after Emerson’s speech, on February 2 and 3, 1862, he found himself in the White House being introduced to Lincoln by Charles Sumner. As Emerson shook hands with Lincoln, he knew that his friend Moncure Conway, a Southern abolitionist minister transplanted to Boston, had spoken two weeks before at the Smithsonian. Conway had predicted that immediate emancipation would start a slave revolt, greatly weakening, maybe fatally wounding, the South. Afterward, Lincoln had told Conway, “I think the country grows in this direction daily, and I am not without hope that something of the desire of you and your friends may be accomplished.”22

18Emerson was also aware that the president, not having heard his speech, at best only knew its essence. But rather than discuss emancipation, the two simply assessed each other. They had much in common. Both were great readers, fond of poetry and Shakespeare. Both were also ambitious public servants, close students of power who deeply wished to be remembered widely and well. But Emerson’s role as a free-lance lecturer allowed him more independence than Lincoln. Lawyer-president Lincoln had to adjust conflicting parties, including his private views, to pragmatic, legal solutions. In his thinking, Emerson was revolutionary; Lincoln was much more conservative. Lincoln, always ready with stories and jokes, was also more social than the distant Emerson. Furthermore, strong sectional differences underlay their encounter: Emerson’s Northeastern privilege and formal education sharply contrasted with Lincoln’s Western raw energy and self-culture.

  • 23 JMN 15: 187. Although the printed version of Emerson’s lecture “Power” does not mention Kentuckians (...)
  • 24 CW 6: 33.

19Emerson recorded that Lincoln — always ready to disarm — had begun their conversation with this mischievous sally: “‘O Mr Emerson, I once heard you say in a lecture, that a Kentuckian seems to say by his air & manners, ‘Here am I; if you don’t like me, the worse for you [Emerson’s emphasis].’”23 Lincoln, the humble Kentuckian now president, was effectively saying, “So?” Perhaps both laughed — Lincoln, because he usually did so after such a tease, and Emerson because he no doubt took the tease as playful self-defense. But he might have corrected the president. In “Power,” rather than denigrating Westerners, Emerson applauds their health, energy, and strength, especially in politics. They are free, robust models of his vaunted self-reliance.24

20Emerson judged Lincoln at first hand straightforwardly and well: “The President impressed me more favorably than I had hoped. A frank, sincere, well-meaning man, with a lawyer’s habit of mind, good clear statement of his fact, correct enough, not vulgar, as described; but with a sort of boyish cheerfulness, or that kind of sincerity & jolly good meaning that our class meetings on Commencement Days show when telling our old stories over. When he has made his remark, he looks up at you with great satisfaction, & shows all his white teeth, & laughs.”25 Five days after they met, Lincoln ordered Emerson’s Representative Men from the Library of Congress.26 Though his chosen figures were all of the Old World, the first chapter, entitled “Uses of Great Men,” would have impressed the pragmatic Lincoln. Emerson recognized individuals as truly great only if they benefited the common good, and went on to say, “Great men exist that there may be greater men,” a comment that would have appealed to Lincoln’s capacity for humility.

  • 27 Emerson, “American Civilization,” Atlantic Monthly (April 1862), 502-11. See Cornell University Mak (...)

21In April, the Atlantic Monthly published Emerson’s speech with a newly added coda. In it, Emerson again praised Lincoln, this time for his recommendation to Congress in early March for government-supported compensation to any state that enacted a gradual end to slavery. For Emerson, Lincoln had expressed, as he put it, “his own thought in his own style. All thanks and honor to the Head of State!” Claiming that the whole country applauded the move, Emerson urged that emancipation follow right away. At the same time, he clearly understood Lincoln’s delicate position, ending, “More and better than the President has spoken shall, perhaps, the effect of the Message be,— but, we are sure, not more or better than he hoped in his heart, when, thoughtful of all the complexities of his position, he penned these cautious words.”27

  • 28 Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Simon & Sc (...)

22Lincoln, an Atlantic reader, could not have missed this April issue. Perhaps he read it before indicating that he wished to sign a bill abolishing slavery in the capitol, which he did on April 5. Two days later he signed a treaty with England to suppress the African slave trade (which became an act that he signed on July 11). But Lincoln’s timing in making public any change in the war’s goals still depended on the fate of military events. Union reversals continued, keeping Lincoln, as in previous months, daily immersed in war strategies and tactics. The lack of troops was always a problem. A stream of domestic and foreign business also continued. Nevertheless, all along, Lincoln was moving toward what Emerson and others had urged: the use of his executive power in wartime to negate the constitutional protection long given to slavery.28

23On June 19, Lincoln secretly read a draft Emancipation Proclamation to his vice president, Hannibal Hamlin, while the North continued to suffer severe setbacks and heavy casualties. He did not sleep well and was observably “weary, care-worn and troubled.” A month of similar pressures went by. Then on July 22, Lincoln read his draft of the proclamation to the cabinet. He also issued an executive order that included two items that Emerson had been urging since January: pay for black workers if used by Union troops, and compensation, too, to their former owners, for any of their property, including slaves.29 Then at summer’s end came the “Northern victory” at the battle of Antietam, Maryland. In Lee’s first attempt to move Southern troops into the North, he was repulsed and retreated, but only after 6,000 had died and 17,000 were wounded. Neither side won. Even though Lee had been forced to withdraw, McClellan failed to pursue him into Virginia.30 Nevertheless, the New York Times heralded the battle as a turning point for the North: Southerners had been forced to flee Union territory.

  • 31 Lincoln Day By Day, 3: 141; Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862, http://www.a (...)
  • 32 JMN 15: 291.

24Five days later, on September 22, Lincoln — evidently ready to go — released his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. In effect, it annulled the Fugitive Slave Law and promised compensation to those slave-owners who had been loyal to the Union throughout the rebellion. In addition, Lincoln announced that on January 1, 1863, a hundred days hence, he would declare “forever free” the slaves in all the states that were still in arms against the North.31 To his journal, Emerson exulted, “Great is the virtue of the Proclamation. It works when men are sleeping, when the Army goes into winter quarters, when generals are treacherous or imbecile.”32

  • 33 Emerson, “The President’s Proclamation,” CW 10: 435; Lincoln Day By Day, 3: 142.

25Then began Emerson’s role as one of Lincoln’s greatest promoters, immeasurably enhancing the president’s prestige and political fortunes. Just days after the proclamation, Emerson spoke at a Boston abolitionist rally, enthusiastically calling it “a poetic act,” advancing both “catholic” and “universal” interests. He equated the proclamation with landmark events in the nation’s history from the planting of America, to the Declaration of Independence, to the end of British slavery in the West Indies. Lincoln’s “capacity and virtue” made him nothing less than an “instrument” of “Divine Providence,” Emerson declared. He continued, “[Lincoln] has been permitted to do more for America than any other American man.” Moreover, this “dazzling success” eclipsed Lincoln’s previous delay and any weaknesses Emerson had earlier noted. The president now epitomized “endurance, wisdom, magnanimity.” Emerson then offered his highest praise, connecting the president’s realpolitik with Transcendentalism in a single sentence: the Proclamation had delivered Americans “from our false position,” planting citizens on “a law of Nature....” Lincoln had in effect become Emerson’s first “Representative Man” of the New World. In a less lofty style, the president remarked on Sept. 28: “The North responds to the proclamation sufficiently in breath; but breath alone kills no rebels.”33

  • 34 James M. McPherson, “We Cannot Escape History”: Lincoln and the Last Best Hope of Earth (Urbana, IL (...)
  • 35 White, Appendix 7: “[Lincoln’s] Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862,” 383. Three years lat (...)

26Lincoln had not only adopted key abolitionist points that Emerson had presented in January and April, but apparently had also absorbed Emerson’s point of view as well as his tone, perhaps even his expression. In the president’s annual message to Congress on December 1, 1862, he repeated his assent to swift emancipation, but from a new perspective, opposite to what it had been a year before. His first inaugural address had looked to the past — to the Constitution and the Union. Now, announcing that the war’s goal was to end slavery, Lincoln spoke of the present and future in the style of Emerson. (His message, equivalent to our current State of the Union address, thus intended to mold public opinion, was widely printed and discussed.)34 In Nature (1836), Emerson had rhetorically asked, “Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe?” Twenty-six years later, Lincoln’s affirmation, “As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew” resounds with Emerson’s question. Lincoln’s talents made this December message fully his own, but his words echo the coda to Emerson’s “American Civilization”: “Our whole history appears like a last effort of the Divine Providence in behalf of the human race.” Eight months later, Lincoln concluded his remarks, sounding Emerson’s liberty note and secularizing his phrase about the last effort of providence: “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free —... We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth.”35

  • 36 CW 9: 381-84; Goodwin, 499-500; McAleer, 573-74; Allen, 618.

27Less than a year after they met, Emerson and Lincoln came together in spirit to celebrate January 1, 1863, Emancipation Day. In Boston, over 6,000 gathered in two of the city’s largest venues, Tremont Temple and the Music Hall. At the Music Hall, the Boston Symphony struck up Beethoven’s “Consecration of the House” overture as Emerson — with Longfellow, Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., and Harriet Beecher Stowe (Frederick Douglass was at the Temple) — waited for word to come from Washington that Lincoln had, in fact, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. At ten o’clock that night, a telegraphed message confirmed the fact. Emerson, first on the program, read a just-finished poem, “Boston Hymn.” Boston, he said, was to abolition as Concord had been to independence. His poem “Concord Hymn” of 1836 had celebrated the Revolution. Now, twenty-five years later, his “Boston Hymn” was consecrating emancipation, but with an important difference: “Concord Hymn” had been Emerson’s song; “Boston Hymn” he made God’s. Near its end, he has the divine voice command, “Pay ransom to the owner,/And fill the bag to the brim. /Who is the owner? The slave is owner,/And ever was. Pay him.” Electrified by his lines, Emerson’s long pent-up audience — including at least a few blacks — rose, wildly shouting and singing.36

28In the proclamation’s final form, Lincoln had made a single, but momentous change: blacks could now officially serve in the Union army.37 The North-South balance of power stood to shift enormously. Emerson and his friends quickly seized their chance and helped form two black regiments in Massachusetts. Later, in a speech he repeatedly gave, “Fortune of the Republic,” Emerson virtually campaigned for Lincoln’s reelection in 1864. But when Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865, Emerson found Grant’s terms too lax. He also feared that Lincoln’s desire to return the South peacefully to the Union and thus not impose retributions would allow northern Democrats to help the South undermine the North’s victory.

  • 38 Emerson, “Remarks at the Funeral Services Held in Concord, April 19, 1865,” W 9, Miscellanies; http (...)

29Yet Lincoln’s assassination, just five days later, brought Emerson back to his former praise. At Concord’s annual commemoration of the Revolution, he noted Lincoln’s virtues, in particular his sense of humor: It was “... a rich gift to this wise man. It enabled him to... meet every kind of man, and every rank in society; to take off the edge of the severest decisions; to mask his own purpose and sound his companion; and to catch with true instinct the temper of every company he addressed....” Emerson continued, warmly celebrating Lincoln as this “aboriginal man,” this Kentuckian, this first middle-class president for “this middle class country.” Finally, he mused on what providence (nature or fate) revealed in Lincoln’s passing. “[W] hat if it should turn out that [Lincoln] had reached the term... and what remained to be done required new and uncommitted hands... and that Heaven... shall make him serve his country even more by his death than by his life?”38 Emerson may have often pondered that question when passing Lincoln’s portrait in his upstairs hallway, where it still hangs today.

5.4 Abraham Lincoln at about 56, c. 1865.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

30In 1842, Whitman first heard Emerson’s speech, “Poetry of the Times”— a study for his seminal lecture “The Poet.” Afterward, he immersed himself in Emerson’s words. Thirteen years later, in 1855, Emerson was the most prominent critic among the few who welcomed Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.

  • 39 Walt Whitman to Horace Traubel, Intimate with Walt: Selections from Whitman’s Conversations with Ho (...)

31Despite the book’s increasing popularity over the next twenty-five years, especially among a small avant garde, most critics kept attacking its free rambling style, earthiness, and shocking sensuality. Even Emerson, who was no prude, implored Whitman to temper his challenges to convention. Whitman in turn could be disappointed with Emerson, but never lost his loving loyalty to this first and major mentor. At the end of his life, he kept at hand an unframed photograph of Emerson. A dozen or so times, his young friend and secretary Horace Traubel rescued it from the floor. He described the portrait, “Emerson at his best: radiant, clean, with that far-in-the-future look which seemed to possess him in the best hours.”39 The photograph’s shifts between table and floor suggest that the failing Whitman enjoyed studying it as a reminder of his debt to one so different from himself in background and education but so like him in soul.

  • 40 Jerome Loving, Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 199 (...)

32By his eleventh birthday in 1830, Whitman, from a modest but large East Long Island family, had had all the formal education he would receive. His family moved to Brooklyn for a time, but when they returned to the country, the early teenage Walt, now trained as a printer’s apprentice and compositor, stayed on in New York City. Its catastrophic fires of 1835, however, sent him back to Long Island where he wrote for newspapers and taught school. Then, in 1845, Brooklyn again became the family home. Like Poe, Whitman’s combative nature meant that he would be in and out of jobs that also included building and contracting. But early access to a lending library had given him the habit of wide, voracious reading. His job experience also made him sympathetic with workingmen and liberal causes, a tendency reinforced by his family’s political radicalism, Quakerism on his mother’s side, and the highly politicized, brawling world of journalism. But Whitman much preferred literary writing to reporting. By the early 1840s, he had published standard essays, semi-autobiographical short stories, and routine, rhyming poetry. They all reflected his generally depressed late adolescence.40

  • 41 Emerson first lectured in New York in 1840, before he was widely published; Whitman was on Long Isl (...)
  • 42 Gay Wilson Allen, Waldo Emerson (New York: Viking Press, 1981), 400-01.

33Then in early March 1842 came Emerson on his second lecture trip to New York City.41 Twenty-year-old Whitman reported his speech on “Poetry of the Times” for the New York Aurora: “The Transcendentalist had a very full house on Saturday evening.” Then he summarized Emerson’s most arresting points: “He said that the first man who called another an ass was a poet. Because the business of the poet is expression — the giving utterance to the emotions and sentiments of the soul; and metaphors.” Whitman declined “to do the lecturer great injustice” with further comment, but ended by claiming he had heard “one of the richest and most beautiful compositions, both for its matter and style, we have ever heard anywhere, at any time.” Emerson had outlined the poet’s power, his tools, and his present and future roles. Like James Russell Lowell, Whitman felt his best self had been called forth. Afterward, he reviewed Emerson’s remaining five lectures in this series. In one review, he tried to compare Emerson and Kant’s philosophies; of Emerson’s last lecture, “Prospects,” he noted, “We should not be surprised if he made a good many converts in Gotham.” Whitman was clearly one.42

  • 43 Justin Kaplan, Walt Whitman: A Life (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980), 128, 172, 173.
  • 44 Von Frank, 179-80, 252-55, 272, 294; Loving, 158.

34Besides these known direct encounters, from 1842 until Whitman began writing Leaves of Grass in the early 1850s, Emerson’s ideas were readily available both in print and in person. Margaret Fuller reviewed her friend’s Essays II (1844) in the New-York Tribune in 1845; “The Poet” had headed that collection. During this time, too, Whitman’s pieces in leading New York journals and as editor and book reviewer of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1846-1847 led him to explore authors who had fed Emerson’s Transcendentalism: Carlyle, Coleridge, Goethe, George Sand, and Schlegel. His reactions foretold the encompassing, free-ranging, frank writer he would become.43 Then in 1843 and again in 1850, Emerson gave two lecture series in New York City, each of nine parts, the first in February 1843 (one lecture was repeated in Brooklyn) and another series in January and March 1850 (three were also given in Brooklyn). In February 1852, Emerson’s comments on “Power” for the People’s Lectures at New York’s Broadway Tabernacle would again have stimulated Whitman’s ambitions. Finally, the outspoken Freesoiler Whitman, as idiosyncratic an abolitionist as Emerson, would have eagerly heard him speak on “The Fugitive Slave Law” at the New York Anti-Slavery Society, on March 7, 1854. Whitman later recalled attending either this lecture or Emerson’s “American Slavery” on February 6, 1855, also for the Society.44

  • 45 Kaplan, 148-49.
  • 46 Loving, 158.

35Other cultural forces shaping Whitman strengthened the appeal of Emerson’s themes. Emerson’s self-reliance worked hand-in-glove with the individualism and stand-alone psychology that Alexis de Tocqueville described in Democracy in America (1835-1840). The enormously popular pseudo-science of phrenology — reading character by cranial bumps — with its motto of “Self Made or Never Made” fascinated Whitman. Emerson, Daniel Webster, and Henry Ward Beecher all had their heads “read.”45 Then, too, Manhattan’s new daguerreotype galleries probably provided the image Whitman used when he wrote “Pictures” in 1853-1854, a preliminary study to Leaves. In the “gallery” of his mind, Whitman housed images of historic and contemporary places and people. Among the latter easily hung on his walls was the “tall and slender” Emerson standing “at the lecturer’s desk, lecturing.”46

36Whitman’s familiarity with Emerson was so deep that by age thirty-five, when he came to publish his slim green volume on or near 4 July 1855 — its gilt title Leaves of Grass auspiciously sprouting roots — he sent Emerson a copy, as if to please a primary mentor.

5.5 Walt Whitman at 34-36, 1853-1855.

  • 47 Whitman to John T. Trowbridge, quoted in Richardson, 527-28.
  • 48 Loving, 189-90, 209-11.

37He later reportedly admitted, “My ideas were simmering and simmering, and Emerson brought them to a boil.”47 Emerson’s response in a letter of July 21 overflowed with enthusiasm. This “wonderful gift,” he felt, was nothing less than “the most extraordinary piece of wit & wisdom that America has yet contributed.” Reading it gave him “great joy” for its “free & brave thought” as well as for its “courage of treatment,” a sign of “large perception.” “I rubbed my eyes a little to see if this sunbeam were no illusion,” Emerson admitted,” but the solid sense of the book is a sober certainty.” A few months later, the elated Whitman printed the whole letter, without permission, in the Tribune. More, for the spine of his second 1856 edition, he quoted from this letter again: “I greet you at the/Beginning of A/Great Career/R. W. Emerson.” In its pages, Whitman responded to Emerson’s letter with one of his own, calling him “Master.” He never admitted any wrongdoing in printing Emerson’s endorsements, nor did the mildly miffed Emerson ever complain to him. Rather the reverse: Emerson sought out Whitman in December 1855, calling on him in Brooklyn after giving a lecture there. The two then walked the three miles to Manhattan for dinner at the Astor House.48

  • 49 Ibid., 240-41; Richardson, 528-29; Kaplan, 251.

38Five years later, in mid-March 1860, Whitman again met Emerson, this time in Boston. On the home turf of “proper Bostonians,” two young radical publishers were bravely bringing out a third, expanded version of Leaves. In Whitman’s humble rented room and on Boston Common, Emerson — who did most of the talking — tried to persuade him “for the sake of the people” to remove his most sexually explicit “Children of Adam” poems. Emerson felt they would prematurely draw moralistic fire, be banned in Boston, and diminish Whitman’s potentially broad appeal. Whitman knew that Emerson spoke to protect and promote him, not to defend New England respectability. But he adamantly refused to censor himself: “What does a man come to with his virility gone?” he asked. His Leaves of 1860, unlike contemporary versions of the Bible and Shakespeare, remained unexpurgated — except for the removal of earlier letters from or to Emerson. As the two went off to dine at the American House, Whitman had already taken the independent stance Emerson would have hoped for. He had become his own man.49

  • 50 Cf. Emerson’s “American Scholar” with Whitman’s “Song of Myself” 21, line 422; 24, line 498.
  • 51 Whitman probably did not exaggerate Emerson’s response. Otherwise young Traubel, often critical of (...)

39Afterward, a certain cooling between the two occurred. They both championed nature and the natural man — soul and body — as filled with meanings that transcended this world. But the patrician-scholar Emerson emphasized “Soul, Soul, and more Soul,” while the laborer-singer Whitman proclaimed himself to be first “the poet of the Body,” and then “the poet of the Soul.” In “Song of Myself,” “Walt Whitman” sang with unabashed pride of being a “turbulent, fleshly, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding” self.50 In contrast, Emerson had long ago sternly repressed his deepest desires for both sexes, a stance belied by his repeated regret for lacking “animal spirits.” Face to face with the uninhibited Whitman, these emotions could flash through Emerson’s restraint. More than once, Whitman recalled, Emerson had said, “‘I envy you your capacity for being at home with anybody in any crowd.’” And at another moment, Emerson seemed to probe both his private desires and Leaves’s openly androgynous ones by asking him, in Whitman’s words, “‘Don’t you fear now and then that your freedom, your ease, your nonchalance, with men may be misunderstood?’” Whitman posed a counter question, “‘Do you misunderstand it?’ He put his hand on my arm and said: ‘ No: I see it for what it is: it is beautiful.’”51

  • 52 JMN 14: 74.
  • 53 Loving, 470; Allen, 666-67.
  • 54 Loving, 209.
  • 55 Paul Zweig, Walt Whitman: The Making of the Poet (New York: Basic Books, 1984), 8.

40Emerson’s envy of Whitman’s sexual frankness, however, may well have helped turn his earlier irritations into at least mild antagonism. Also, Emerson’s friends, heavy with anti-Whitman prejudice, must have affected him, though he did not share their ethical scruples. (Earlier, he had written that the poet he was looking for would speak with words not used in polite society.) In 1856, one friend in his circle could not hide self-righteousness behind a little joke: the Leaves’ author “had every leaf but the fig leaf.”52 In 1860, Lidian (with Alcott’s wife and Thoreau’s mother) shunned Whitman in Concord, forcing Emerson to meet him in Boston.53 Though Emerson had sent Alcott and Thoreau to see Whitman, his first exuberance was already subdued in 1856 when he wrote Carlyle: “One book, last summer, came out in New York, a nondescript monster which yet had terrible eyes and buffalo strength, and was indisputably American.”54 Emerson seems to have been torn in his estimate; for him, Leaves was a cross between the “Bhagavad Gita and the New-York Tribune,”55 inspiration married to mere reportage.

  • 56 Whitman to Traubel, Conversations, ed. Gary Schmidgall, 221.
  • 57 JMN 15: 379.
  • 58 Richardson, 570; Loving, 361-62; Kaplan, 354.

41In 1863, Whitman, searching for a job in the office of Secretary of State William Seward, sought and received a letter of recommendation from Emerson that characterized his writings as “in certain points open to criticism.”56 Not surprisingly, Whitman did not use the reference. The same year, Emerson wrote in his journal under the heading “Good out of evil,” “[O] ne must thank Walt Whitman for service to American literature in the Apalachian [sic] enlargement of his outline and treatment.”57 “Apalachian” values Whitman’s frontier-like breadth as it also hints of cultural limit. Then, in 1874, Emerson published a poetry anthology, Parnassus, which did not include Whitman — or himself, for that matter. Meant for family parlor readings, it was produced with the help of Emerson’s daughter Edith, no fan of Whitman’s. And the anthologies of the poetry establishment — collections of poems edited by Bryant, Whittier, and others — also omitted Whitman.58

  • 59 Kaplan, 353.
  • 60 Allen, 653.
  • 61 Loving, 395.
  • 62 McAleer, 647-48; Loving, 408-09.

42Meanwhile, after 1860, the isolated Whitman kept promoting himself as America’s best present and future poet. By 1867, he brought out a larger Leaves in a fourth edition. In 1871, when a fifth version, also enlarged, appeared, Emerson’s opinion must have reached Whitman through a mutual friend: “I expect — him — to make — the songs of the — nation — but he seems contented to make the inventories.”59 No wonder Whitman found Emerson’s lectures in Baltimore and Washington the next year stale —“the same themes as twenty-five years ago.”60 And in 1880, on the celebration of Emerson’s seventy-seventh birthday, in “Emerson’s Books (The Shadows of Them),” Whitman acknowledged Emerson’s pioneering role in pressing for “freedom and wildness and simplicity and spontaneity,” but he found that excessive culture had kept him several removes from true, organic nature. In short, Emerson was too refined.61 Yet just the next year, Whitman, who was in Boston to work on the last edition of Leaves, visited Concord. He went to a family dinner at Emerson’s, invited by a now welcoming Lidian. Once again, Whitman was drawn by Emerson’s mere presence, the constant cheerfulness of his last years only augmenting his personal aura.62 A decade later, as Whitman neared his own death, he recalled Emerson’s distancing dignity, yet how “free, easy, liquid” he had always been with him.

5.6 Walt Whitman at 68, 1887.

  • 63 Schmidgall, ed., 216, 218.

43Whisking away decades of strain, Whitman’s lasting memory of Emerson was of his “phenomenal sweetness.”63 Emerson’s photo, constantly loose on his table or floor, spoke of Whitman’s ongoing loyalty to his first master.

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (1830-1886)

  • 64 Amherst was even smaller; this average also includes inhabitants of nearby towns. Edward W. Carpent (...)

44In stark contrast to Whitman, there is no record that Emily Dickinson ever met Emerson, or even heard him lecture. But it is highly likely that she did. In the thirty years from 1849 to 1879, Emerson spoke in the Connecticut Valley seven times, and Dickinson lived her entire life in that valley, in Amherst, Massachusetts, a town of only about 3,000.64 She certainly knew about his appearances from family, friends, and the local press. Despite this lack of sure encounter, Emerson greatly influenced Dickinson’s work, as has been widely acknowledged. But it has not been noted that he gave her the self-confidence, direction, and model of solitude that inspired her very destiny. Dickinson would come to epitomize Emerson’s ideal of the solitary scholar-poet at home.

45When Emerson began lecturing near Amherst, eighteen-year-old Dickinson was just awakening to her poetic potential. That talent was evident to Benjamin Newton, her father’s law student, who began tutoring her after her single year at Mt. Holyoke Seminary.

5.7 Emily Dickinson at 16, 1846.

  • 65 Alfred Habegger, My Wars Are Laid Away: The Life of Emily Dickinson (New York: Random House, 2001), (...)
  • 66 Emily Dickinson (ED) to Jane Humphrey, January 23, 1850, The Letters of Emily Dickinson, 3 vols., e (...)
  • 67 ED to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, June 7, 1862, EDL 2: 408. See also, Jay Leyda, The Years and Hour (...)

46Newton had come to Amherst in 1847 from Worcester,65 near Boston and Cambridge, within the swirl of theological dust kicked up by Emerson’s “Divinity School Address” less than a decade before. A Unitarian, he appears to have wholly embraced Emerson, and Emily soon considered him an “elder brother” who “became to me a gentle, yet grave Preceptor, teaching me what to read, what authors to admire, what was most grand or beautiful in nature, and... a faith in things unseen....” In late 1849, Newton returned to Worcester, but sent Emily a letter with a copy of Emerson’s Poems (1847).66 It would not have been hard for Dickinson to wrap Emerson with the same awe and affection that she felt for Newton. Years later, Dickinson recalled that Newton, ill with tuberculosis, had told her “he would have liked to live till I had been a poet.” Among her handful of intimates, Newton was the first to make her heady — like Santo Domingo rum that “comes but once,” she later said — with a sense of her promising power. His words echoed in her mind for years.67

  • 68 JMN 2: 182. Emerson added: “Never was so much striving, outstretching, & advancing in a literary ca (...)
  • 69 Susan Inches Lyman Lesley, Memoir of the Life of Anne Jean (Robbins) Lyman (Cambridge, Mass.: 1876) (...)
  • 70 Leyda 1: 155; http://www.measuringworth.com/

47Emerson’s history in western Massachusetts actually predated Dickinson’s birth by seven years. In late August 1823, he had set off on foot from Cambridge to inspect the new Amherst College. “The infant college is an Infant Hercules,” he noted.68 Four years later, Emerson spent two weeks in nearby Northampton as a supply preacher to the new Second Congregational Society. (His hosts Judge Joseph and Mrs. Anne Jean Lyman had led a break with the town’s First Church. Mrs. Lyman, wrote a friend, exclaiming, “O Sally! I thought to entertain a ‘pious indigent,’ but lo! An angel unawares!”)69 Over twenty years later in February 1849, when Emerson returned to lecture in Northampton (again staying with the Lyman’s), he came with the reputation of a renegade pastor with dangerous theological and social views. Despite the new fame he had gained as a lecturer abroad just the year before, the Amherst group that attended found him literally insupportable. According to the Hampshire Gazette, “The large party of gentlemen and ladies from Amherst, who graced Mr. Emerson’s lecture with their presence, not only omitted, but when reminded of the omission, declined to pay the entrance fee of 12 1/2 cents [or $ 3.77 in 2013 dollars].”70

48The provocative Emerson had doubtless challenged their Calvinist theology and anti-abolitionist views. Amherst College had been founded to train conservative Congregationalist ministers. Racially, a town-gown consensus reigned too. In the 1830s, the president and faculty had retracted their early encouragement of student abolitionists, probably due to a violent backlash against the antislavery movement in the state and generally throughout New England. In 1835, William Lloyd Garrison had been paraded through Boston’s streets with a noose about his neck. By the early 1840s, the administration, fearing for the future, effectively quieted campus antislavery protest.71 The town either encouraged this move in the first place, or followed suit.

  • 72 Richard Sewall, Life of Emily Dickinson, 2 vols. (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1974), 1: 4 (...)

49It was probably Benjamin Newton, still in Amherst, who promoted curiosity about Emerson, persuading Edward Dickinson and his family to attend the lecture. Quite possibly, the group included Emily’s close friend, future sister-in-law, and poetry-lover, Susan Huntington Gilbert — like Newton, an early Emerson enthusiast. Emerson’s remarks might easily have goaded Edward Dickinson — conservative, parsimonious, and prickly — into refusing to pay. In contrast, Emily would have found Emerson’s liberating ideas vital to her own. His example would have encouraged her resistance to joining the church, already begun at Mount Holyoke and continuing at home during Amherst’s series of revivals. Her father overrode his usual criticism of the average sermon to join the church in spring 1850, but Emily would never become a member, even though for a time she continued to attend services.72

  • 73 Emily Dickinson to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, August 1862, L 2: 415.
  • 74 Jack L. Capps, Emily Dickinson’s Reading, 1836-1886 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 19 (...)

50Until 1849, Emerson had been a distant hero in print. Now he might be met face-to-face, especially since his revolutionary thoughts were igniting her own. But Dickinson neither directly presented herself to, nor credited, Emerson. As with all central subjects, she skirted the matter of anyone’s influence, claiming never to “consciously touch a paint, mixed by another person —.”73 The intensity of her admiration may have made her shy. However, her markings in his works make his influence clear. In the copy of Emerson’s Poems that Newton gave her, heavy “X’s,” probably Newton’s (none like them appear in her other books), are found next to five poems in the Table of Contents: “Each and All,” “The Problem,” “Goodbye,” “Woodnotes I,” and “Dirge.” Her typical marks, vertical light pencil lines, appear next to seven poems. Her choices omitted two of Newton’s, while she added four of her own. Among these seven, Emerson’s “The Sphinx” strengthened her sense of truth’s final mystery and suggested a poetic strategy of indirection. Dickinson might have wondered if his “Each and All” overstated when it found the world “perfect and whole.” She had heard too many sermons to the contrary. But “The Problem” named her own theological dilemma: A soul, innately drawn to spiritual things, yet rejects the uniform of traditional faith. Emerson’s advice “To Rhea,” to return unrequited love with disinterested god-like devotion, spoke to Dickinson, already familiar with spurned affection from both sexes. As she herself would soon do, Emerson’s “Rhodora” exclaimed over nature’s beauty and power. And “the public child of earth and sky” of his “Woodnotes II” resonated with Dickinson’s sense of being a lone child at home in Amherst’s woods and swamps. Unmarked poems in this same collection also clearly struck her. Dickinson’s “I taste a liquor never brewed —” (1860) directly echoes Emerson’s “Bacchus.” And his poem “Humble-Bee” spoke to her self-image of being small and attracted to summer’s heat. She too was an “insect lover of the sun.”74 For truth and belief, life, love and nature, Emerson was calling a natural follower.

  • 75 Susan H. G. Dickinson, MS, “Annals of the Evergreens” in “Society in Amherst Fifty Years Ago,” 1892 (...)
  • 76 Jean McClure Mudge, “Emily Dickinson and ‘Sister’ Sue’,” Prairie Schooner 52: 1 (Spring 1978): 90-1 (...)

51Even before Emerson’s poems, his Essays I and II of a few years earlier had come to Dickinson, either by way of Newton or Sue Dickinson. Writing a memoir for her children in 1892, Sue remembered Emerson’s visit to Amherst in 1857: “For years I had read him, in a measure understood him, revered him, cherished him as a hero in my girl’s heart, till there grew into my feeling for him almost a supernatural element....”75 For her early adoration and identification with Sue, Emily might well have said these words herself. All the more because Sue, singled out by teachers as a gifted student of poetry, regularly shared with Emily her growing library of European and English Romantics and a complete collection of Shakespeare. As late teenagers and young adults, Sue, Emily, and her brother Austin had also exchanged their own poems and belonged to a Shakespeare Club, secretly reading his unedited work and that of other “modern literati” that Edward Dickinson disdainfully outlawed. No doubt Emerson was such an outlaw, making his essay “The Poet” all the more alluring. For Emily, Sue’s continuing habit of loaning her books and magazines as they grew older, explains her pencil markings not only in Sue’s copies of Emerson’s Essays, but also in The Conduct of Life and Miscellanies, all editions of the early 1860s.76

  • 77 Leyda, 1: 167-69.
  • 78 Habegger, 220.
  • 79 ED to Mrs. T. W. Higginson, Christmas 1876, EDL 2: 569.

52As Dickinson became familiar with Emerson in print, she could not have escaped notice of him in the local press. In fact, a February 1850 issue of the Amherst College literary monthly, the Indicator, featured both a valentine she had written and a review of Emerson’s latest book, Representative Men.77 Emily’s prose-poem — a rollicking, madcap experiment possibly sent to the editor, George Gould, a friend of hers as well as Austin’s classmate — was anonymous, but its style revealed her identity. Gould’s review of Emerson’s Men called him an “erratic genius and brilliant oddity,” reprehensible for his “complete antagonism” to Christianity, yet he confessed to being “quickened and strengthened by communion with a master-mind.”78 These words would have sped Dickinson to Emerson’s first chapter, “Uses of Great Men,” to find this uplifting conclusion: “... great men exist that there may be greater men.” Twenty-six years later, she gave Representative Men to a friend, calling it “a little Granite Book you can lean upon.”79

  • 80 Leyda, 1: 331.

53On three occasions in the 1850s — when Dickinson was stirred with unsettling thoughts about her place, powers, and identity — Emerson lectured in Amherst proper. The first time, on March 21, 1855, Emily probably missed him. She was en route home from Washington D. C. where her father was serving a term as congressman. But a review appeared in the Springfield Republican, its breezy style indicating that Dickinson’s dear friend, the paper’s editor Samuel Bowles, was its probable author, and also because its subject matter was Emerson’s style, not what he said: “It makes an ordinary head ache to listen well to Ralph Waldo Emerson.... There is no more spare language on his ideas, than there is flesh on his bones corporeal. A word less on the one, or an atom less on the other, and there would be a fatal catastrophe. His lecture last night... was a chain of brilliant ideas strung as thickly as Wethersfield onions when packed for export....”80

  • 81 The Rev. F. D. Huntington of Harvard University gave the commencement address. Leyda 1: 334. The Ha (...)
  • 82 Emerson reported that certain “learned professors” heard him, noting that they misread his remarks (...)
  • 83 Mudge, Image of Home, 71.
  • 84 Edward Dickinson, treasurer of the College since 1835, did his best to keep alive the town-gown cam (...)
  • 85 Between March and October 1855, a gap exists in Dickinson’s remaining letters. EDL 2: 318-20; see a (...)

54Less than five months later, on the college’s commencement day, August 8, 1855, Emerson was again in town. The guest of students rather than the administration, he was not featured for the major morning address.81 Rather, he spoke that afternoon on one of his favorite themes, “A Plea for the Scholar.”82 Emily — at twenty-four still regularly attending church and enjoying parties as well as visiting friends — would have had high incentive to go.83 Afterward, she may even have served refreshments to Emerson at her father’s annual commencement tea. Emily and her younger sister Lavinia (Vinnie) often shared hostess duties in place of their invalid mother.84 But as the students’ honoree rather than the administration’s, perhaps Emerson was not invited, and no record remains to confirm she was even there.85

  • 86 Leyda 1: 334. See also LL 1: 350-66.
  • 87 LL 1: 361, 366.

55The Express summarized Emerson’s remarks: “[He] wished scholars to become a CLASS; to take high and sacred ground, aloof from the traffickers and politicians. The mission of the scholar was to shed the light by which, and to direct the way in which, others should work... [He] was too comprehensive and metaphysical to be at all times easily understood... It was a series of subtle minded, comprehensive, epigrammatic, detached thoughts.”86 Such was the immediate local reaction. But Dickinson would have been electrified by his words: “Thought! It is the thread on which the system of nature and the Heaven of heavens are strung... the Mind itself, all mixed and muddy as it is in us, is ever prophesying a grander future.” And his final congratulations to those accepting “the white lot of the scholar,” whose work was “the noblest offices of the human being,” would have challenged her to the core.87

  • 88 Ibid., 357.

56Ever since his “American Scholar” address (1837), Emerson had regularly pressed others to become, like him, “Man Thinking,” an independent “scholar”— or writer — in America. The poet, the most lauded of all “generalizers,” epitomized this role, he had argued in 1837. In 1855, he repeated the point, exaggerating, “’Tis wonderful, ‘tis almost scandalous, this extraordinary favoritism shown to poets.”88 In the next five years, Dickinson’s dedication to writing poetry made her Emerson’s model scholar. She would be “Woman Thinking.” But beyond gender, being a true scholar-poet required, justified, and could only be surely practiced, as Emerson emphasized, in solitude. Her preference for solitude, even seclusion, leaned on yet more of his advice.

  • 89 Mudge, Image of Home, 138-39.

57Emily’s pencil marked this passage on a down-turned page in Emerson’s address “Literary Ethics” (1838), republished in his Miscellanies (1860): “Let him [the poet] know that the world is his, but he must possess it by putting himself into harmony with the constitution of things. He must be a solitary, laborious, modest, and charitable soul.” The following unmarked paragraph contained a key question and answer: “And why must the student be solitary and silent? That he may become acquainted with his thoughts.” On another up-turned page of “Literary Ethics,” Emerson gave the solo scholar a saving goal: “Truth shall be policy enough for him.”89

  • 90 Cf. Emerson’s 1855 and 1857 speeches in LL 1: 350-66; 2: 37-40.
  • 91 Leyda 1: 351.

58Two years later, on December 16, 1857, just a week past Dickinson’s twenty-seventh birthday, students once again invited Emerson to lecture in Amherst. This time he chose to speak on “The Beautiful in Rural Life,” a simple but heartfelt topic, no doubt designed to allay the cool bafflement his “Plea for the Scholar” had produced. It was also only a fourth as long.90 Anticipation had been high. The series’ first lecture, on “Lost Arts” by Wendell Phillips, had drawn a crowd of a hundred and fifty. The Express touted Emerson as “the prince of lecturers” and added that he was a not-to-be-missed bargain at twelve and half cents (the same cost as his 1849 lecture in Northampton). Yet, as that paper afterward reported, the lecture “... greatly disappointed all who listened. It was in the English language instead of the Emersonese in which he usually clothes his thoughts, and the thoughts themselves were such as any plain common-sense person could understand and appreciate.”91 Whether high or lowbrow, Emerson’s attempts to woo Amherst could win only a handful of the adventurous and cultured. Invariably, they were the young intellectual elite.

  • 92 Sue must have shared her opinion of “Brahma” with Emily in 1857: “It seemed subtle to the thoughtfu (...)

59Of these, Sue, Emily, and Austin — now Sue’s husband — led such a list. Their expectations had been quickened by recently reading Emerson’s poem “Brahma,” re-titled from “Song of the Soul,” in the November issue of the Atlantic Monthly. Its perceived difficulty, along with the controversy and even satire it spawned, made Emerson all the more enticing. Sue and Austin were bursting with pride to be Emerson’s hosts at the Evergreens, their handsome new house in the Italian villa style next to the Homestead. From Emily’s bedroom window, she could easily see the Evergreens across a small lot. Recalling the occasion thirty-five years later, Sue was still dazzled by Emerson’s effect, “... When I found he was to eat and sleep beneath our roof, there was a suggestion of meeting a God face to face, or one of the Patriarchs of Hebrew setting... or, as Aunt Emily says, ‘ As if he had come from where dreams are born.’”92

  • 93 ED to Susan Huntington Dickinson, probably 1857, EDL 1: prose fragment 10, 913.
  • 94 Emily Dickinson undated aphorisms, EDL 3: prose fragments 58 and 69, 921-22.

60But Sue misquoted Emily’s exact words. She had actually written, “It must have been as if he had come from where dreams are born!”93 Her conditional “It must have been...” suggests that she was not there. Idolizing him, it would seem, made him inapproachable. If so, then Dickinson had deeper reasons for keeping apart on such occasions. In two separate, undated notes she wrote, “... a climate of Escape is natural to Fondness...” and “Consummation is the hurry of fools..., but Expectation the Elixir of the Gods —.”94 Exposure would have been premature. A distant awe was more lasting and safe.

61Nevertheless, in 1858, shortly after her close encounter with Emerson, Dickinson began to compile her best poems, continuing to do so for the next seven years.

5.8 Emily Dickinson at 29? and unknown friend, 1859?

  • 95 P 1: xviii-xix; Sewall, 2: 537-38; The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Variorum Edition, 3 vols., ed. R. (...)
  • 96 “This is my letter to the World,” P I 441, 340; Fr 1: 519; “This Was a Poet —,” P I 448, 346-47; Fr(...)

62In 1861, she accelerated this process, editing earlier draft poems and producing a quantity of new ones. She copied those she thought her best on quality stationery, and sewed them into 40 packets of about 800 poems. The rest she gathered into 10 loose sets. The whole lot numbered 1,116, or over sixty per cent of what became her total body of 1,789 poems.95 For posterity, Dickinson was in effect announcing, as did the first line of a packet poem, “This is my letter to the World” (1862), while also proving herself to be the artist she defined in another, “This Was a Poet” (c. 1862).96

  • 97 R. W. Emerson, “The Poet,” Essays: Second Series (Boston: 1862), 23.

63In this last poem, Dickinson states her aesthetic hopes, distilling Emerson’s advice in “The Poet.” Her marked lines in his essay highlighted what became hallmarks of her work. Emerson had written, “Why covet a knowledge of new facts? Day and night, house and garden, a few books, a few actions serve us as well as would all trades and all spectacles. We are far from having exhausted the significance of the few symbols we use. We can come to use them yet with a terrible simplicity.” Dickinson’s wavering pencil line extended down the margin to include the following three sentences: “It does not need that a poem should be long. Every word was once a poem. Every new relation is a new word.”97 Reading this advice when she first experimented with poetry, then again as her full powers swelled, Dickinson hardly needed more instruction.

  • 98 ED to T. W. Higginson, L 2: 404, 409, 412, 415, 460.

64In April 1861, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Emerson’s younger friend and admirer, invited “young contributors” to submit poetry to the Atlantic Monthly. Exactly a year later, in mid-April 1862, at her peak productivity, Dickinson responded, sending Higginson a few sample poems. (Emerson, a founder of the Atlantic, would have seen any poems published there.) However, Higginson soon advised Emily, as she put it, to “delay ‘to publish.’” Undismayed, Dickinson fired off a rather rapid series of letters. She asked him to be her “’friend’” and “Preceptor.” By July, she set the terms of their relationship by signing herself “Your Scholar.” Then, as she moved past apprenticeship in the second half of the 1860s, she sent Higginson hints of her progress. Out of habit, she might still sign her letters “Your Scholar,” but she was now also “E. Dickinson,” or just “Dickinson”— a genderless self-elevation to a new assurance, even beyond Emerson’s “scholar.”98

  • 99 Leyda 2: 102; Emerson’s six lectures and two speeches in the area were Oct. 17: “Social Aims in Ame (...)
  • 100 Sewall 2: Chronology, xxii; L 2: 441-44.
  • 101 EDL 2: 460.
  • 102 Ibid., 462.

65For a full week, October 17-25, 1865, Emerson was again in Amherst to lecture on American Life in a six-part series at the Baptist church.99 Emily may have been in Cambridge, repeating a second round of eye treatments begun the year before.100 But apart from these few and necessary trips, she had been at home in Amherst steadily moving toward a sure affirmation in 1869, re-enforced by Emerson’s support of solitude, that “I do not cross my Father’s ground to any House or town.”101 Soon afterward, when Thomas Wentworth Higginson invited her to hear Emerson speak to a small gathering in Boston, she did not accept.102

  • 103 JMN 16: 277; on February 28, 1879, Emerson spoke at College Hall to a poor audience. Leyda 2: 309-1 (...)
  • 104 P 1: 67, 53; also xxx-xxxi; Fr 112; Leyda 2: 302-03.
  • 105 Habegger, 559.

66In the 1870s, Emerson’s three final lectures at the college —“Greatness of the Scholar” and “Character” in 1872, then “Superlative or Mental Temperance” in 1879 — would not have drawn Dickinson.103 She was familiar with the first two, and perhaps Emerson’s decline in these years was becoming known. Besides, just the year before, she had had proof that her work (only seven poems had been published) at least approached his. In 1878, her poem “Success is counted sweetest/By those who ne’er succeed” (written in 1859, sent to Higginson in 1862, and submitted by a friend, Helen Hunt Jackson) appeared in a collection of anonymous poems, A Masque of Poets. Titled “Success” by the book’s editors, it was widely attributed to Emerson. (He had privately lectured on the subject, once publicly in Amherst in October 1865, but six years after Dickinson had written her poem.) The New York Times judged it “eminently successful.”104 With the knowledge of the Emerson attribution, Emily also learned from Sue that she recognized her lines. The news made her turn “so white” that Sue regretted telling her.105 But Dickinson’s instant reaction could well have been shock upon having reached a pinnacle previously unknown even to herself.

  • 106 “I Like a look of Agony,” P 1 241, 174: Fr 339.

67Despite her deep and longstanding debt to Emerson, in the end Dickinson took a solo route. Though their subjects, searching styles, and forms (hymnody, definition, and aphorism) might be similar, Emerson was more controlled and less anguished than Dickinson. He habitually disguised his “woman’s heart” as well as his inner life against a pressing, judgmental public, while she, unpublished, could write powerfully uninhibited statements of fragility, fear, and occasional fierce triumph. Also, Emerson, the public lecturer, saw himself primarily strengthening others, while Dickinson did not. For her, signs of suffering were a badge of integrity: “I like a look of Agony,/Because I know it’s true —”106 Today, Dickinson’s poems in comparison to Emerson’s — larger in number but shorter in length, arrestingly spare yet deeply penetrating — are, on the whole, widely judged to be the better art.

  • 107 Mudge, Image of Home, 198, 271, Nos. 6, 7, 8. This sort of title came easily to Dickinson; she had (...)
  • 108 EDL 2: 539.
  • 109 P 2: 754, 575; Fr 764.

68Once Dickinson had become a poet both of and beyond Emerson’s image, she would pay direct homage to him for the rest of her life. In 1875, when Concord and Amherst both celebrated centennials (Concord, the Revolution; Amherst, its incorporation), Dickinson obliquely equated the two towns and, by extension, Emerson and herself. (He was nationally famous as the “Sage of Concord,” and she, locally known as the “myth of Amherst,” soon called herself simply “Amherst.”)107 To her Norcross cousins in Concord, Emily wrote, “I have only a buttercup to offer for the Centennial, as an ‘embattled farmer’ has but little time.” Since her cousins by now attended the same First Church in Concord as did Emerson, Dickinson’s identifying with the “embattled farmers” of his “Concord Hymn” (1836), an often-repeated phrase that year, would have been instantly recognized by them. She felt engaged in a similar, even revolutionary fight. No matter that her bullets were buttercups and that she patrolled more “limited meadows.”108 She sensed that her “shots” of poetry —“My Life had stood — a Loaded Gun” (1863)109 — like those of the Minute Men, would also one day be heard “round the world.”

  • 110 EDL 3: 727.

69Three days after Emerson’s death on April 27, 1882, Dickinson wrote a dear friend: “Today is April’s last — it has been an April of meaning to me... My Philadelphia [Charles Wadsworth] has passed from Earth [on April 1] and the Ralph Waldo Emerson — whose name my Father’s Law Student taught me, has touched the secret Spring. Which Earth are we in?”110 Dickinson’s return to her own “Spring” on May 15, 1886, left that puzzle for her family, and posterity, to ponder.

William James (1842-1910)

  • 111 William James (WJ) to John Madison Fletcher, April 1, 1904, in The Correspondence of William James, (...)

70In 1904, long-time Harvard professor William James, when asked about Emerson’s legacy, at first responded that only a few current Harvard students knew anything about him. But he added, “It is utterly impossible to trace Emerson’s influence, at Harvard, or anywhere else. Such things run underground.”111 In contrast, James himself, his novelist brother Henry, and their close circle of friends knew Emerson so well that they often quoted him in letters without any attribution needed. William’s wide correspondence, lectures, and publications in America and abroad made him a direct conduit of Emerson’s ideas and style to thousands more.

  • 112 Gay Wilson Allen, William James, A Biography (New York: Viking Press, 1967), 13.
  • 113 Leon Edel, Henry James: A Life (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), 8-10.

71Only weeks after his birth in January 1842, William entered Emerson’s orbit. That March, his father Henry James, Sr., fascinated by the same Emerson lecture series that had drawn Whitman, brought him to his house near Washington Place in New York City to admire and give blessings to baby William.112 (Emerson, grieving little Waldo’s recent death, must have viewed the infant with heavy heart.) Like Emerson, James Sr. was a renegade from his father’s faith, in his case, Presbyterianism. For a lifetime, the two were separately dedicated to pursuing religious questions and culture with a capital “C.” But in contrast to Emerson’s independence from any organized movement, James adapted his thinking to Swedenborgian spirituality and Fourierist social thought.113

  • 114 Henry James, Sr. to William James, March 18, 1868, CWJ 4: 267-68; see William’s reaction to his fat (...)
  • 115 Henry James, Sr., “Emerson,” Atlantic Monthly 94 (1904), 743.

72Not surprisingly, James Sr. was ambivalent about Emerson’s ideas. At one point, he described his friend’s idealism as the work of a “sort of police-spy” on nature for merely pedantic reasons, and at another, criticized his experimentalism as “a man without a handle.”114 But like Lowell and Whitman, James was wholly won by Emerson’s character, his sheer being. When Emerson lectured in New York City in the next two decades, James invariably hosted him. The two became even closer when the James family moved to New England in the 1860s. Then in the late 1860s and early 1870s, James Sr. read his “Emerson” paper to a few small audiences that, as William noted, outlined his father’s “irritation” as well as his “enchantment” with Emerson. Emerson’s psychological marriage of male and female traits were one of his great assets, James Sr. argued, but his lack of accounting for the “fierce warfare of good and evil” disturbed him.115

  • 116 Daniel W. Bjork, William James: The Center of His Vision (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988 (...)
  • 117 Gerald E. Myers, introduction to CWJ, 11 vols. (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, (...)

73Yet Emerson cast his spell, and James described himself as his friend’s “loving bondman.” Together the Emerson-James angle on existence — soulful, aesthetic, impressionistic, subjective, and open, yet with a strong moral sense to which was added James’s criticism, seemingly even stronger than Emerson’s own — was passed on to William, his next child Henry, and his last-born, daughter Alice. (Two middle sons, Garth and Wilky, were not intellectuals.) To produce offspring with Emerson’s depth, it helped that James Sr. had inherited wealth from his father William, a real estate entrepreneur in upper New York State. The son spared no expense in educating his brood in New York City; Newport, Rhode Island; Cambridge; Concord; and abroad in England, Switzerland, France, and Germany. As infants, then again at the cusp of their teen years, William and Henry began what was essentially an ongoing “Grand Tour” of Europe lasting into adulthood. Adjusting to these myriad environments required observation, comparison, and above all, language. Even before the family moved first to Boston in 1864, and two years later to Cambridge, William, Henry, and Alice started lifetime friendships with Emerson’s children. (At Lawrence Scientific School in Cambridge in 1861, William took a class in comparative anatomy with Emerson’s son, Edward Waldo.)116 With such a cosmopolitan start, it is not surprising that the brothers — William, the young artist-scientist who matured into a pioneering psychologist and philosopher, and Henry, a psychological novelist who at first was even more famous than his brother — grew to embody the most sophisticated American thinking in the half-century after the Civil War.117

  • 118 Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America (New York: Farrar, Strouse, and Gi (...)
  • 119 Ibid., 22.

74When William James spoke on the centennial celebration of Emerson’s birth in Concord on May 25, 1903, he attested that Emerson had been one of his primary “hearteners and sustainers” since youth, who had urged him and others “to be incorruptibly true to their own private conscience.” That was true, too, of young James’s good friend, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Holmes’s parents had given him five volumes of Emerson’s works on his seventeenth birthday in 1858. Soon a freshman at Harvard, Holmes wrote a highly enthusiastic essay about Emerson for the Harvard Magazine. When the two met by chance on the street a month later, Holmes told him, “If I ever do anything, I shall owe a great deal of it to you.” Much later in life, Holmes simply stated that Emerson “set me on fire.”118 While Holmes was first devouring Emerson, William James was studying in Switzerland and Germany, then painting in Newport in 1860-1861, and not arriving in Cambridge to study science until 1861. But he already knew Emerson personally, and had long before read the same works in his father’s library that were enthralling Holmes. Also, James’s father was not, like Holmes Sr., a northern racist,119 and was therefore closer to Emerson, who, by the Civil War, had long been an abolitionist leader.

  • 120 WJ to Thomas Wren Ward, January 7, 1868, CWJ 4: 246. WJ to Catherine E. Havens, March 18, 1877, ibi (...)
  • 121 WJ to Alice James, June 15, 1862, ibid., 4: 74. WJ to Ralph Waldo Emerson, April 6, 1867, ibid., 15 (...)
  • 122 WJ to R. W. Emerson, April 6, 1867, ibid., 4: 156-57.

75As William slowly decided on a profession — trying painting, science, and his father’s wishes — he also suffered recurring ill health and thus had time to read widely. Early, he began a habit of easily quoting Emerson in his letters: bits of his essays and poems, the latter evidently known by heart.120 When he was twenty, he made regular visits to “R. W.” and his family in Concord.121 And in 1867, he went off to Berlin with a letter of introduction from Emerson to his devoted friend Hermann Grimm, noted for his hospitality to Americans.122 William returned to study at Harvard Medical School and received his M. D. in 1869, at the same time as Emerson, recently welcomed back to the college after thirty years, was preparing his lecture series of 1870-1871 on “Natural History of the Intellect.”

5.9 William James at 27, 1869.

  • 123 Myers, James, 46.
  • 124 WJ to Alice James, 27 July 1872, CWJ 4: 427, 428n; WJ to Alice James, December 11, 1873, ibid., 468 (...)

76In 1870, when depression led James to think of suicide, he credited the French philosopher Charles Renouvier for jolting him into recovery by leading him to affirm his own power of choice: “My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will.”123 Beneath that restorative idea lay a deep mine of Emersonian suggestions toward confident independence: make your own world (Nature); be “Man Thinking” (“American Scholar” address); listen to that inner “iron-string” (“Self-Reliance”); and look forward to perpetual change, constant transition, and enlarging perspectives (“Circles”). This closeness to Emerson continued. When fire damaged Emerson’s Concord house in 1872, William was concerned and knew that his older friend had gone abroad. (Brother Henry met him at the Louvre and the Vatican.) On Emerson’s return, William dined with him in Boston and Concord, noting his decline.124

  • 125 Myers, “Chronology of the Life of William James,” James, xvii-xviii; Myers, CWJ 1: xxxiv.
  • 126 WJ to Henry James, February 6, 1887, CWJ 2: 80-81. HJ’s review of Cabot’s A Memoir of Ralph Waldo E (...)

77By 1876, Emerson was seventy-three and retired at home, while James at thirty-four had become an assistant professor in the pioneering field of physiology at Harvard. He taught a fluid mixture of physiology, psychology, and philosophy that followed Emerson’s focus on the mind in 1870-1871, combined with his own scientific, ethical, and philosophical pursuits.125 A decade later, William wrote to congratulate brother Henry on his review of James Elliot Cabot’s biography of Emerson (1887), noting Ellen and Edward Emerson’s appreciation, especially Edward’s emotional reaction to Henry’s warm ending.126 With these longstanding and complex family ties, it is little wonder that James built on Emerson’s ideas for his personal values and public thoughts.

78In the 1880s, James’s earlier attraction to philosophy — to spiritual and abstract matters — reengaged him while he also stayed true to the scientific, concrete, and testable. In his last thirteen years, he began to produce the rich work that made him internationally famous. The Will to Believe, and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy appeared in 1897, followed by The Varieties of Religious Experience in 1902. Pervading these books were the same concerns voiced by Emerson and James Sr., but with William’s own slant and conclusions. Then, in 1903, to prepare for Emerson’s centennial celebration at Concord, James re-read all of Emerson’s works.

5.10 William James at 61, 1903.

79The overview exhilarated him, and Emerson’s example gave him a career lesson. He wrote Henry:

  • 127 WJ to HJ, May 3, 1903, CWJ 3: 234. Henry called both Emerson and Hawthorne “exquisite geniuses” and (...)

The reading of the divine Emerson, volume after volume, has done me a lot of good, and, strange to say has thrown a strong practical light on my own path. The incorruptible way in which he followed his own vocation, of seeing such truths as the Universal Soul vouchsafed to him from day to day and month to month, and reporting them in the right literary form, and thereafter kept his limits absolutely, refusing to be entangled with irrelevancies however urging and tempting, knowing both his strength and its limits, and clinging unchangeably to the rural environment which he once for all found to be most propitious, seems to me a moral lesson to all men who had genius, however small, to foster... Emerson is exquisite!127

  • 128 WJ to HJ, May 3, 1903, CWJ 3: 234.
  • 129 HJ to WJ, May 24, 1903, CWJ 3: 240.
  • 130 WJ to Frances R. Morse, May 26, 1903, CWJ 10: 251-52; WJ to WJ, Jr., May 29, 1903, ibid., 252-53.

80William’s heart weakened in 1898. Aware that his time was limited, he would now follow Emerson’s example and dedicate himself to “the one remaining thing... to report in one book, at least, such impression as my own intellect has received from the Universe.” He observed that Henry, too, had “been leading an Emersonian life,”128 living in the English countryside, at Lamb House in Rye, since 1897. On May 24, the day before the Emerson memorial, Henry answered William: “It affects me much even at this distance... — this overt dedication of dear old E. to his immortality.”129 Just after the event, William described it as a “sweet & memorable” occasion, an “aesthetic harmony” bringing back New England’s “Golden Age” with its combination of “simplicity & rusticity” with “great thoughts & great names.” Having devoured Emerson straight through, he now felt “his real greatness as I never did before.” But after hearing “so much” from the other speakers, James also noted, “... There are only a few things that can be said of him, he was so squarely & simply himself as to impress every one in the same manner.” James found down-home, Emerson-like words to praise him: “He’s really a critter to be thankful for.”130

  • 131 WJ to H. W. Rankin, June 10, 1903, CWJ 10: 266-67.
  • 132 Allen, William James, 166-67, 432-33; Bjork, William James, 97-98.
  • 133 WJ to?, February?, 1903, CWJ 10: 208.
  • 134 Robert Dawidoff, CWJ 3: xxvii-xxviii.

81Still, James Sr.’s reservation about Emerson’s optimism had cast its shadow. Writing a friend only weeks after the Concord ceremony, young James criticized Emerson for his “’once-born’ness,” his “extraordinary healthy-mindedness” that made him fail to comprehend “the morbid side of life.”131 For James, Emerson belonged to the first of two main religious types — the “healthy-minded” and “sick-minded”— that he had named in Varieties of Religious Experience just the year before. He and his father, both long-term sufferers of physical and psychological complaints, were the latter type.132 But the younger James differed from his father as well as Emerson. Though he shared their quest for truth, ethics, and belief, he rejected their monist sense of a single agency at the heart of reality. He argued for a universal pluralism. Nevertheless, William’s recent immersion in all of Emerson boosted his confidence. It was high time that he produce his own “magnum opus,” “a general treatise” on a “pluralistic and radically empirical philosophy....”133 James, like Emerson, now increasingly preferred reaching the public by lecturing and publishing rather than teaching,134 and lost no time in moving forward.

  • 135 As quoted in Myers, James, 298.
  • 136 Benjamin P. Blood to WJ, August 28, 1907, CWJ 11: 433.

82In 1907, four years after the Emerson centennial, he published Pragmatism, and two years later, both A Pluralistic Universe and The Meaning of Truth. The latter tried to clarify Pragmatism, especially for critics who dismissed his test for truth as mere workability. In fact, James’s pragmatism was not a theory of truth at all. Stimulated by both religious inquiry — exploring ultimate reality while accepting its elusiveness — and the desire to be scientific, James proposed a method of selecting one’s beliefs from contending hypotheses: choosing between consequences. Admittedly, the process was subjective — even passionate — but the results were pragmatic (useful). As he wrote, “True ideas are those that we can assimilate, validate, corroborate and verify. False ideas are those that we can not.”135 This was James’s complex scientific, psychological, even emotional test for his longstanding desire for a satisfying faith. After all, his Will to Believe had preceded his first description of pragmatism (in a lecture of 1898) by only a year. And as a close friend noted about him, “You perceive that philosophy is vain, because mysticism and not reason is the final word.”136

  • 137 WJ to Dickinson S. Miller, November 10, 1905, CWJ 11: 111-12. Santayana, having received a similar (...)
  • 138 WJ to Alice G. James, January 30, 1906, ibid., 581.
  • 139 WJ to Alexander R. James (son), January 17, 1909, CWJ 12: 149-50.

83Emerson’s concerns — a devotion to nature, the transcendent and mystic, self-reliance, ever-expanding horizons, even a limited personal god — and his perspective and style remained James’s gold standard throughout his creative later years. They led him to unfavorably compare George Santayana to Emerson in 1905, when Santayana’s Life of Reason appeared. James assessed his colleague’s book as “a paragon of Emersonianism,” but also found it “profoundly alienating” in its “‘preciousness’ and superciliousness.” He asserted, “The same things in Emerson’s mouth would sound entirely different. E. receptive, expansive, as if handling life through a wide funnel with a great indraught, S. as if through a pin point orifice that emits his cooling spray outward... like a nose-disinfectant from an ‘ atomizer.’”137 Early the next year, at Stanford, James asked his wife to bring with her from Cambridge Emerson’s Miscellanies and both sets of his Essays for a speech on war and arbitration that he was preparing.138 He also stayed in close touch with the Emerson family, attending Ellen’s funeral in January 1909.139

  • 140 WJ to William C. Brownell, September 2, 1909, ibid., 314-15. Brownell’s article, “Emerson,” appeare (...)
  • 141 Barbara Packer points to the essential political and social context of the 1850s in which Emerson w (...)

84Later that year, James answering a query, assessed Emerson the intellectual with the same ambivalence as his father. Though he felt that Emerson lacked “metaphysic argument,” his “transcendentalist and platonic phrases named beautifully for him that side of the universe which for his soul... was all-important.” And if Emerson might undercut his own thinking in following pages, James did not fault this “literary inconsistency.” He could state his largely ideal “monistic formulas” dogmatically, but he did not “suppress the facts they ignored,” James noted, “so no harm was done.” For example, James found the ending of Emerson’s essay “History,” with its “platonic formulas” “simply weak... but there are readers whom they inspire,” he acknowledged, “so let them pass!”140 James ignored Emerson’s metamorphosis from a young Romantic idealist to a more mature thinker, whose remaining idealism was frequently informed by harsh realities, private and public.141 James’s pluralism may also have led him to miss Emerson’s “Worship” (1850), where he had defined mind as “finer matter” and observed divinity pervading every atom. Had James noted this shift, he might have seen that Emerson could have agreed with Pragmatism’s facts-first, results-oriented, ethical thinking.

  • 142 WJ to Henry P. Bowditch, November 9, 1909, ibid., 360.

85James might have misread Emerson, but his ethical and emotional ties with his father’s old friend had been and always remained tight. All his life, he agreed with Emerson’s note in the “American Scholar” that character always trumps intellect. After eleven years of increasing heart trouble, ten months before he died in August 1910, James noted to a friend, “... the mere fact of being still part of this real world — the wonderful apparition, as Emerson calls it, has a zest which neutralizes a good many things. I never admired nature more than I did this summer. The great thing is to live in the passing day, and not look farther!”142

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)

  • 143 Frank Lloyd Wright, “Index,” An Autobiography (New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1943), 561.
  • 144 He boasted not to have read Sullivan, since working side by side with him, his ideas had been “an o (...)

86A dramatic example of Emerson’s influence on the arts is the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright’s family, then his first employer Louis Sullivan, and finally Lewis Mumford, the public intellectual, architectural critic, and friend of Wright, all championed Emerson. For Wright, so constantly guided by Emersonian principles throughout his life, the result was a startlingly new, indigenous modern architecture, at once American and international in scope. Yet in his Autobiography (1943), Wright omitted naming Emerson when listing those he had “long ago consulted and occasionally remembered.”143 Wright’s high confidence, pride, and tendency to shave the truth made it difficult for him to credit anyone with guiding his genius.144

  • 145 Maginel Wright Barney, The Valley of the God-Almighty Joneses (New York: Appleton-Century, 1965), 5 (...)

87Emerson’s message came to Wright early. His father, an Amherst graduate, sometime Baptist minister, and musician, taught his children to play a piano made by the Emerson Company (no relation). As a child, Frank’s younger sister was awestruck that Emerson, the man whom she thought made this instrument, also wrote books. She reported that parents, aunts, and uncles often began their sentences, “As Mr. Emerson says....”145 Emerson’s words gave Wright a rudder to face a life filled with considerable turmoil.

  • 146 Finis Farr, Frank Lloyd Wright (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1961), 15.

88While Wright, like Emerson, grew up with fresh, post-war expectations (for Emerson, the Revolution; for Wright, the Civil War), Reconstruction in the 1870s was subverting emancipation in the South. In the North, tensions divided an old agrarianism and abolitionism and a variety of Calvinists, Lutherans, and Unitarians. Among these last were latter-day Transcendentalists, including Wright’s family in Richland Center, Wisconsin.146 This stirring mixture of social, religious, and philosophical matters gave birth to Progressive reform ideas and to the feisty, change-oriented, democratic atmosphere of Wright’s childhood.

  • 147 Harvard art historian Charles Eliot Norton, friend to Emerson, Ruskin and Carlyle, also devotedly a (...)

89In 1876, when Frank was nine, his art-loving mother Anna Lloyd-Jones came home from the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, with its focus on Britain’s Aesthetic Movement, bringing materials to continue stimulating her son’s interest in architecture. The movement’s periodicals and books were already in the house. Earlier, Boston art critic James Jackson Jarves’ The Art-Idea (1864) had nurtured a philosophical basis for America’s Aesthetic Movement by combining Emerson’s ideas with those of John Ruskin, Britain’s premier art critic and social reformer. Together, these sources linked created beauty, democratic education, and moral uplift. By the 1890s, this hybrid British-American Aesthetic Movement was moving in two directions that both influenced Wright: the Arts and Crafts Movement and Art Nouveau.147

  • 148 Ibid., 24; Farr, 7-8; Wright, Autobiography, 17; F. L. Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writin (...)
  • 149 Ada Louise Huxtable, Frank Lloyd Wright (New York: Lipper/Viking, 2004), 37-38.

90Before Frank was in his teens, his father’s spirited but failed ministries led the family to Rhode Island and Massachusetts where Anna immersed herself in Transcendentalist thought, especially Emerson.148 Frank also read widely, from sleazy adventure stories to leading architectural books by Ruskin and Viollet-le Duc, as well as Plutarch, Shakespeare, Goethe, Carlyle, and a host of others.149 Simultaneously, during the summers from age eleven, he endured numbingly hard work on his uncle’s farm, but that experience gave him unforgettable memories of nature.

  • 150 A founder of the Nineteenth Century Woman’s Club, Anna Wright gave “classes in Emerson and Browning (...)
  • 151 Ibid., 46.

91At eighteen, Frank witnessed his father’s forced departure from the house by Anna and her family. Two years later, in 1887, after leaving high school without graduating and taking two semesters of civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Wright headed for Chicago. Its disastrous fire of 1871 had led to a building boom that was producing the “Chicago School” of experimental, urban, and largely commercial design. Within a year, Wright placed himself with the company of Adler and Sullivan, one of Chicago’s most successful firms. Sullivan quickly recognized him as a gifted draftsman. Wright’s mother came to live with him in the suburb of Oak Park, where she gave a course on Emerson to a women’s group.150 With this continuing link, Wright readily made the Emersonian-like motto of his mother’s Welsh family, “Truth against the world,” his own.151

  • 152 Huxtable, xv-xvi.

92But Wright’s truth strayed from Emerson’s. The frugal Emerson always dressed in simple black. Wright, often a dandy in dress, was capable of carrying self-reliance to excess: he fudged the facts of age and education, carried on several romantic intrigues leading to three marriages, and regularly failed to pay bills.152 Yet while ignoring Emerson’s moral expectations, Wright’s adoption of his inspiration from nature and his romantic spirit produced buildings of great natural integrity, despite occasional — or some said, more than occasional — leaky roofs.

  • 153 Farr, 79-80.
  • 154 Mark Gelernter, A History of American Architecture: Buildings in Their Cultural and Technological C (...)

93In Louis Sullivan, Wright found an artistic soul mate and mentor, interested in philosophy, music, and art in general. Besides Emerson and Ruskin, Sullivan was also influenced by a wide range of Romantic and Gothic Revival figures such as the American sculptor Horatio Greenough and the English artist-writer A. C. Pugin, a leading student of medieval architecture. Emerson, who had met Greenough in Rome in 1833, noted that Greenough’s 1843 paper on architecture had predated Ruskin’s thoughts on architecture’s “morality” (Emerson’s emphasis). In responding to a letter from Greenough, Emerson referred to his theory of proper structure: “[It is] a scientific arrangement of spaces and forms to function and to site; an emphasis of features proportioned to their gradated importance in function: color and ornament to be decided and arranged and varied by strictly organic laws....”153 From sources such as these, Sullivan developed an architecture built on the centrality of nature: form should follow function and a building’s decoration should emerge organically, flower-or vine-like, from its basic design. To these, he added the Progressive values of individualism and democracy.154 This collation of thoughts poured into his designs for the radically new skyscraper and high-rise, sure symbols of the optimism and ambition that built them.

  • 155 Huxtable, 70.
  • 156 Frank Lloyd Wright & Lewis Mumford: Thirty Years of Correspondence, eds. Bruce B. Pfeiffer and Robe (...)
  • 157 Farr, 79.

94Four years later, Wright, helped by family connections to establish a clientele, opened his own Chicago office. Sullivan had fired him for taking time from the firm’s domestic commissions to work on what Wright himself called his “bootleg” houses.155 But now in the period 1893-1910, he independently launched a series of suburban dwelling designs that, despite variations, exhibited his so-called “prairie style”: low horizontal outlines; a naked exposure of natural and manufactured materials (brick, reinforced concrete, or glass); informal and free-flowing interior spaces around a central fireplace; and when possible, a marriage of building to site.156 Wright seemed to be fulfilling Emerson’s hope for a coming genius, not yet on the scene while he was alive, who would be connected to the “sea-wide, sky-skirted prairie.” That prairie epitomized America’s virgin land and was a vital part of Wright’s beloved native Wisconsin landscape. Emerson had written, “I know not why in real architecture the hunger of the eye for length of line is so rarely gratified.”157

  • 158 Huxtable, 76-77.

95As with his aesthetic ideas, Wright’s style also hardly emerged sui generis. He avidly studied a variety of modernist artistic and scientific models. Beyond Chicago’s urban engineering experiments were the international Arts and Crafts movement, technological schools in England and the Continent, the “shingle style” of American architects from the East and Mid-West, and Japan’s architecture and art.158 Such inventive bricolage — puttering with many designs to combine with his own solutions — defined his genius. But what truly enabled Wright to unify miscellaneous sources was his commitment to Emerson’s call in Nature: to make a moral, beautiful new world.

  • 159 Wright and Mumford Correspondence, 27.

96Midway through Wright’s life, Emerson’s influence was renewed through the critic and Emerson devotee Lewis Mumford. In 1953, Mumford both praised and blamed Wright’s work in two New Yorker articles. The occasion was an exhibition, Sixty Years of Living Architecture, on the site of Wright’s future Guggenheim Museum (finished in 1958). Mumford first heralded Wright as” the most original architect the United States has produced, and — what is even more important —... the most creative architectural geniuses of all time... the Fujiyama of American architecture... a volcanic genius that may at any moment erupt with a new plan or a hitherto unimagined design for a familiar sort of building.”159

5.11 Frank Lloyd Wright at 59, c. 1 March 1926.

  • 160 Ibid., 6, 8, 9, 10-11, 21, 22-23.

97By the mid-twentieth century, Mumford had become a major cultural critic who leaned on Emersonian insights in becoming proficient in art, architecture, literature, theater, sociology, and politics. Already, twenty-five years before, he had commented on Wright, internationally known for his plans and perspective drawings in the Wasmuth Portfolio (1910) and for his long-term project in Tokyo, the Imperial Hotel (1913-1922). Then, Mumford had called him the successor to H. H. Richardson and Louis Sullivan, found in him a counterforce to Europe’s mere mechanism (Le Corbusier), and celebrated his unity of function and style with landscape. For Mumford, Wright was as poetic as Carl Sandburg and Sherwood Anderson in expressing mid-American values. After a second similar article by Mumford, Wright complained that he did not understand him. Afterward, they began an alternately convivial and contentious relationship.160

  • 161 Ibid., 38-39.

98Mumford had problems with Wright’s refusal to support World War II and other matters that led to an estrangement in 1941. That distancing lasted a decade, but on Wright’s initiative, their relationship was restored. By 1953, with leftover tensions in play, Mumford’s article about the Guggenheim exhibition was more critical of Wright. He complained of Wright’s “America First streak,” his disdain for European architecture, and his inability to learn from others different from himself. Nevertheless, Mumford applauded Wright’s total humanism: “... his lifework has expressed the full gamut of human scale, from mathematics to poetry, from pure form to pure feeling, from the regional to the planetary, from the personal to the cosmic. In an age intimidated by its successes and depressed by a series of disasters, he awakens, by his still confident example, a sense of the fullest human possibilities.”161

  • 162 Probably “Surface and Mass — Again!” Architectural Record 66 (July 1919), 92-94. Ibid., 61.

99This critical but celebratory review magnifies the differing reflections on Emerson’s iconoclasm that had encouraged the Mumford-Wright conflicts. Mumford on Wright was an Emerson-like voice speaking critically — with appreciation and rebuke. Wright thought himself Emerson’s arch-advocate and practitioner. Yet the human, ethical, and organic architectural principles that both men championed against an increasingly materialistic, mechanized society were also completely Emersonian. In 1929, in one of his earliest letters to Mumford, Wright explained the enclosed draft of his latest article for the Architectural Record. He had defended his core values from anticipated criticism and commented, “... how silly and ungrateful to brand as weakness the radiation of character from my work. Just in proportion to this force, the artist will find his work outlet for his proper character, says Emerson. But no ‘mannerist’ could have made my varied group of buildings? I cannot hope, nor should I want to emancipate myself from my age and my country. And this quality in my work will have a higher charm, a greater value than any individual-quality could have.” His next two paragraphs continued in this Emersonian vein: “The New in art is always formed out of the Old — if it is truly valid as New.” And “Art does exhilarate and its intoxicating aim is truly no less than the creation of man as a perfect ‘flower of Nature.’ What an excursion!”162

  • 163 Ibid., 195-96.
  • 164 Ibid., 233.

100In 1951, Wright and Mumford exchanged comments about Mumford’s latest book, The Conduct of Life, a work twenty-one years in the making. As he explained to Wright, Mumford had taken the same title as Emerson’s 1860 collection of essays “in order to emphasize the underlying affiliation, despite all differences in personality and philosophy, which you, dear FLW, were first to recognize.” Wright replied, “I’ve missed you Lewis. Your’s [sic] is an Emersonian mind but on your own terms. What a man he was and how we need such-now! I’ve read your little book [Man the Interpreter] and, what? A man you are. I shall never cease to be aware of the fact that I owe to you primal appreciation and support when it took real courage for you to render it. That I count as one of the real honors that have ‘fallen into my lap.”163 Two years later, after Mumford’s critical review of the new U. N. building appeared, Wright quickly wrote him: “Vive the New Yorker! What other magazine would have dared? But the court-jester always spoke what other courtiers never dared utter. Emerson would put his hand on your shoulder and say ‘my son?’” The question mark, as habitual for Wright as his underlinings, often means “is that not so?”164

  • 165 Wright CW 2: 28, 43; 3: 75.

101This spiritual sonship with Emerson is a constant thread in Wright’s life, from easily recalled Emerson references in early speeches to his later books. In 1896, three years into his independent practice, Wright spoke on “Architect, Architecture, and the Client.” Besides invoking Tolstoy, Hugo, and Whistler on art, Wright quoted Emerson’s simple maxim, “Art is life.” Four years later in another speech, Wright again interlaced Emerson’s thoughts with his own, “... we worship at the shrine of Nature and go to her for inspiration....” “We walk in the cool, calm shade of the trees, and they say to us as they said to Emerson long ago, ‘Why so hot my little man?’ And we wonder why, indeed, so hot!” In his book on urban planning, The Disappearing City (1932), Wright includes Emerson among America’s fathers, who initiated a democracy “more just and therefore [allowing] more freedom for the individual than any existing before in all the world....”165

  • 166 Ibid., 3: 217-18.

102Emerson’s concept of the organic in nature and art became Wright’s central working principal. In Architecture and Modern Life (1939) he claimed, “[Architecture] is the organic pattern of all things. [The organic] remains the hidden mystery of creation until the architect has grasped and revealed it.” Combining the two, Wright saw organic architecture fed by life, then returning to shape everyday existence and its routine rhythms toward new efficiencies and freedoms. Houses so built would not only guide human patterns of activity, sparing their time, but would stimulate “their sense of form in space, in color, in mass, and in action.” As their “very texture of living” was improved, people would become better human beings. Wright’s range of concern also matched Emerson’s in serving the full scope of human needs, from contemplation to defecation. He asked: “Shall the child pause at the window for the view before he climbs fifteen steps to his play room?” And he lifted the lowly outhouse, now inside, to new respect: “... to those who believe with the modern poet that all significant experience may be the subject of art, even the building of a privy may involve architectural values.”166 Today’s focus on bathroom design and appointments echoes Wright’s insistence that organic architecture should serve both body and soul.

  • 167 Ibid., 5: 251.
  • 168 Ibid., 341-43. Just the year before, Wright had published A Testament, a reprise of his life and th (...)

103In 1958, Wright’s tributes to Emerson reached a climax in his appendix to The Living City. He saw America leaving the city for the country to be in touch with nature once again, a process made practical by the car. More importantly, he argued that such a movement would literally “ground” people. When “every man, woman, and child may be born to put his feet on his own acres,” and when his house arose organically from that setting, “then democracy will have been realized.”167 This appendix included excerpts from Emerson’s essay “Farming” from Society and Solitude (1870), his words ringing true to Wright from his boyhood experiences on the farm. Emerson celebrated the farmer’s primary creative role and farming itself as practical and poetic, but above all, as holy work. Despite Wright’s complaints about laboring on his uncle’s land, he now read Emerson’s encomiums about farming and the farmer (a “continuous benefactor”) as analogous to architecture and his own work. Emerson wrote, “[The farmer]... makes the land so far lovely and desirable, makes a fortune which he cannot carry away with him, but which is useful to his country long afterwards.” For Emerson, this farmer (become architect for Wright) was nothing less than someone whom the greatest poets “would appreciate as being really a piece of the old Nature, comparable to sun and moon, rainbow and flood; because he is, as all natural persons are, representatives of Nature as much as these.”168

  • 169 Secrest, 13.

104Frank Lloyd Wright died in April 1859 at the age of ninety-one. The funeral service was in Madison, Wisconsin, at the Unitarian church where Wright was a member. It began with Psalm 121, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills.” Afterward, an excerpt from Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” was read: “Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”169 Wright may not always have followed Emerson’s precepts of strict personal morality and high self-discipline. But as an architect, his effort to make his own way and to plumb artistic integrity consistently testified to Emerson’s constant mentoring.

Countless Others

105More than a century ago, William James noted that Emerson’s influence, impossible to trace, had gone “underground.” Today, except for some lasting aphorisms, Emerson’s matter and method may seem buried. But beneath public awareness, they still exist as aquifers of unconscious values, social norms and habits of mind. More visibly and self-consciously, scores of Americans in literature, philosophy, political theory, social reform, and the arts have emerged from the Emerson font: Robert Frost, John Dewey, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, Charles Ives, Aaron Copeland, Fitz Hugh Lane and the Luminist School in Emerson’s own time, and Georgia O’Keeffe in ours, to name a few. The endless stream extends to a widely diverse lot — from his namesake Ralph Waldo Ellison to Allen Ginsberg, from Toni Morrison to Barack Obama. For Americans, Emerson is a given at birth, but someone who needs to be brought to one’s full consciousness. For immigrants, he is a promise. For everyone, in a world that so evidently needs transforming, his simple recognition that “We change whether we like it or not” should be reassuring.

Notes

1 The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 16 vols, eds. William H. Gilman, et al. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1960-1982), 9: 78 (hereafter JMN ), as quoted in Albert J. von Frank, An Emerson Chronology (New York: G. K. Hall & Co., 1994), 1: 188.

2 Robert D. Richardson, Jr., Emerson: The Mind on Fire (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1995), 418.

3 James Russell Lowell, “My Study Windows” (1971) in Emerson in His Own Time, eds. Ronald A. Bosco and Joel Myerson (Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press, 2003), 53-57.

4 JMN 14: 258.

5 John McAleer, Ralph Waldo Emerson: Days of Encounter (Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown & Co., 1984), 569.

6 Interviews of James H. Matheny by W. H. Herndon, 1865-1855; Lincoln favored Shakespeare, Byron, and Burns, Herndon’s Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln, eds. Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 470.

7 David H. Donald, Lincoln (New York: Simon & Shuster, 1995), 100-01.

8 Emanuel Hertz, The Hidden Lincoln: From the Letters and Papers of William H. Herndon (New York: The Viking Press, 1938), 116.

9 See references to the National Anti-slavery Standard in Emerson’s Antislavery Writings, eds. Len Gougeon and Joel Myerson (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995), 231; William Herndon to Jesse W. Weik, 28 October 1885, Hidden Lincoln, 96.

10 Ibid.

11 Donald, 168.

12 Von Frank, Chronology, 281; McAleer, 457; Lincoln Day By Day: A Chronology, 1809-1865, ed. Earl Schenck Miers (Washington, D. C.: Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission, 1960), 2: 91. Hereafter Lincoln Day by Day.

13 The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 10 vols., eds. Robert E. Spiller, et al. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971-2013), 6: 28. Hereafter CW. Lincoln Day by Day, 91.

14 Herndon to Weik, 28 October 1885, Hidden Lincoln, 96.

15 Abraham Lincoln to A. G. Hodges (April 4, 1864) and to Charles D. Robinson (August 17, 1864), The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Roy P. Basler (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 281-83, 499-502.

16 Michael F. Conlin, “The Smithsonian Abolition Lecture Controversy: The Clash of Antislavery Politics with American Science in Wartime Washington,” Civil War History 46: 4: 301, 303, 304, 305, 310, 311.

17 Ibid., 312-13.

18 JMN 15: 182.

19 “American Civilization,” April 1862, CW 10: 394.

20 Emerson could have read Mill’s nuanced version of Bentham’s utilitarianism in Fraser’s Magazine, serially published in 1861, in which Mill made quality more important than quantity in defining what was good. Also, Bentham’s phrase had originally been, “the greatest good for the greatest number” [italics mine]. John Stuart Mill, http://www.iep.utm.edu/milljs/. Of a total U. S. population of 31,443,321, nearly 4 million, or 12.5%, were slaves. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1860_United_States_Census

21 CW 10: 410.

22 Conlin, 317; Gay Wilson Allen, Waldo Emerson: A Biography (New York: Viking, 1981), 612.

23 JMN 15: 187. Although the printed version of Emerson’s lecture “Power” does not mention Kentuckians, it does extol the raw energy of the rough, ready, even coarse Western men (the “Hoosier, Sucker, Wolverine, Badger”) versus pampered, elite Americans (like himself).

24 CW 6: 33.

25 JMN 15: 187. The next year, Emerson privately noted Lincoln’s coarseness and lack of taste but counted his proven virtues — directness and honesty — more important. Emerson in His Journals, ed. Joel Porte (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press), 511.

26 Entry for 7 February 1862, The Lincoln Log, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1862-02-07; Lincoln Day By Day, 3: 93.

27 Emerson, “American Civilization,” Atlantic Monthly (April 1862), 502-11. See Cornell University Making of America, http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=atla;cc=atla;rgn=full%20text;idno=atla0009-4;didno=atla0009-4;view=image;seq=0508;node=atla0009-4%3A14; also Lincoln Day by Day, 3: 98.

28 Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005), 462-63.

29 Lincoln Day By Day, 3: 104, 105, 126,127-28, 129.

30 Antietam Battle Description, http://www.civilwarhome.com/antietam.html; Goodwin, 468-69, 481.

31 Lincoln Day By Day, 3: 141; Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862, http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/american_originals_iv/sections/preliminary_emancipation_proclamation.html

32 JMN 15: 291.

33 Emerson, “The President’s Proclamation,” CW 10: 435; Lincoln Day By Day, 3: 142.

34 James M. McPherson, “We Cannot Escape History”: Lincoln and the Last Best Hope of Earth (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1995), 1-2; Ronald C. White, Jr., The Eloquent President (New York: Random House, 2005), 171, 177, 181.

35 White, Appendix 7: “[Lincoln’s] Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862,” 383. Three years later, Emerson’s lasting recognition of Lincoln’s shift led him to extol the president, often criticized for his rustic crude ways, for exhibiting “a grace beyond his own, a dignity, dropping all pretension & trick, and arrives... at a simplicity, which is the perfection of manners” (JMN 15: 465).

36 CW 9: 381-84; Goodwin, 499-500; McAleer, 573-74; Allen, 618.

37 Abraham Lincoln, “The Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863,” http://www.4uth.gov.ua/usa/english/facts/funddocs/emanc.htm

38 Emerson, “Remarks at the Funeral Services Held in Concord, April 19, 1865,” W 9, Miscellanies; http://www.RWE.org

39 Walt Whitman to Horace Traubel, Intimate with Walt: Selections from Whitman’s Conversations with Horace Traubel, 1888-1892, ed. Gary Schmidgall (Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press, 2001), 218.

40 Jerome Loving, Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999), 32-42, 39, 50-51; see also Gay Wilson Allen, “Whitman Chronological Table,” The New Walt Whitman Handbook (New York: New York University Press, 1975), xi-xvii.

41 Emerson first lectured in New York in 1840, before he was widely published; Whitman was on Long Island, not to return to Manhattan until 1841. Von Frank, 151, 169-70; Loving, 50.

42 Gay Wilson Allen, Waldo Emerson (New York: Viking Press, 1981), 400-01.

43 Justin Kaplan, Walt Whitman: A Life (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980), 128, 172, 173.

44 Von Frank, 179-80, 252-55, 272, 294; Loving, 158.

45 Kaplan, 148-49.

46 Loving, 158.

47 Whitman to John T. Trowbridge, quoted in Richardson, 527-28.

48 Loving, 189-90, 209-11.

49 Ibid., 240-41; Richardson, 528-29; Kaplan, 251.

50 Cf. Emerson’s “American Scholar” with Whitman’s “Song of Myself” 21, line 422; 24, line 498.

51 Whitman probably did not exaggerate Emerson’s response. Otherwise young Traubel, often critical of Whitman’s hyperbole, would have challenged him. Whitman to Traubel, 217.

52 JMN 14: 74.

53 Loving, 470; Allen, 666-67.

54 Loving, 209.

55 Paul Zweig, Walt Whitman: The Making of the Poet (New York: Basic Books, 1984), 8.

56 Whitman to Traubel, Conversations, ed. Gary Schmidgall, 221.

57 JMN 15: 379.

58 Richardson, 570; Loving, 361-62; Kaplan, 354.

59 Kaplan, 353.

60 Allen, 653.

61 Loving, 395.

62 McAleer, 647-48; Loving, 408-09.

63 Schmidgall, ed., 216, 218.

64 Amherst was even smaller; this average also includes inhabitants of nearby towns. Edward W. Carpenter, The History of the Town of Amherst (Amherst, Mass.: Carpenter & Morehouse Press, 1896), 604. Ref. kindness of Tevis Kimball, Special Collections, Jones Library, Amherst.

65 Alfred Habegger, My Wars Are Laid Away: The Life of Emily Dickinson (New York: Random House, 2001), 216.

66 Emily Dickinson (ED) to Jane Humphrey, January 23, 1850, The Letters of Emily Dickinson, 3 vols., eds. Thomas H. Johnson and Theodora Ward (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1958), 1: 84-85; hereafter EDL; Habegger, 314.

67 ED to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, June 7, 1862, EDL 2: 408. See also, Jay Leyda, The Years and Hours of Emily Dickinson, 2 vols. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1960), 1: lxv.

68 JMN 2: 182. Emerson added: “Never was so much striving, outstretching, & advancing in a literary cause as is exhibited here.” He further noted that “there is a daily exhibition of affectionate feeling between the inhabitants & the scholars, which is the more pleasant as it is so uncommon.” See also, Leyda 1: xxxi. Among the College’s founders was Samuel Fowler Dickinson, Emily’s grandfather; Noah Webster, author of America’s first dictionary; and Lucius Boltwood, the future second husband of Emerson’s cousin Fanny; https://www.amherst.edu/aboutamherst/facts/history

69 Susan Inches Lyman Lesley, Memoir of the Life of Anne Jean (Robbins) Lyman (Cambridge, Mass.: 1876), as quoted by Elise Bernier-Feeley, Local History and Genealogy Librarian, Forbes Library, Northampton, Mass., e-mail to author, 21 May 2007.

70 Leyda 1: 155; http://www.measuringworth.com/

71 Jake Maguire, “Anti-Slavery Men: The Anti-Slavery Societies at Amherst College,” http://www3.amherst.edu/~thoughts/contents/maguire-slavery.html

72 Richard Sewall, Life of Emily Dickinson, 2 vols. (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1974), 1: 4, 162; 2: 336; Habeggar, 242.

73 Emily Dickinson to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, August 1862, L 2: 415.

74 Jack L. Capps, Emily Dickinson’s Reading, 1836-1886 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966), 61, 114; “I taste a liquor never brewed —“, The Poems of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas H. Johnson, 3 vols. (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press, 1963), 1: P 214, 149. Hereafter P. ED to Mrs. J. Howard Sweetser, early May 1883, EDL 3: 775.

75 Susan H. G. Dickinson, MS, “Annals of the Evergreens” in “Society in Amherst Fifty Years Ago,” 1892, Dickinson Papers Box 9 (Susan H. G. Dickinson), Houghton Library, Harvard University.

76 Jean McClure Mudge, “Emily Dickinson and ‘Sister’ Sue’,” Prairie Schooner 52: 1 (Spring 1978): 90-107. See also Jean McClure Mudge, Emily Dickinson and the Image of Home (Amherst, Mass.: University of Massachusetts Press, 1975), 137.

77 Leyda, 1: 167-69.

78 Habegger, 220.

79 ED to Mrs. T. W. Higginson, Christmas 1876, EDL 2: 569.

80 Leyda, 1: 331.

81 The Rev. F. D. Huntington of Harvard University gave the commencement address. Leyda 1: 334. The Hampshire and Franklin Express titled Emerson’s address, “Plea for the Scholar,” which he had given the year before at Williams College. “An Address to the Social Union of Amherst College, 8 August 1855,” The Later Lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1843-1871, 2 vols, eds. Ronald A. Bosco and Joel Myerson (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2001), 349. Hereafter LL.

82 Emerson reported that certain “learned professors” heard him, noting that they misread his remarks as supporting “the old Christian immortality.... ” Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson with Annotations, eds. Edward W. Emerson and Waldo E. Forbes, 1849-1855 (Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 1912), 8: 576; Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Amherst College, for the Academical Year 1854-5, http://clio.fivecolleges.edu/amherst/catalogs/1854/index.shtml

83 Mudge, Image of Home, 71.

84 Edward Dickinson, treasurer of the College since 1835, did his best to keep alive the town-gown camaraderie that Emerson noted over thirty years before. In August 1855, Dickinson hosted his annual commencement tea for the last time at the family’s Pleasant Street home; thereafter, it would be held at the Homestead on Main Street, Emily’s birthplace, to which they returned that November. Ibid., 76, 243 No. 3.

85 Between March and October 1855, a gap exists in Dickinson’s remaining letters. EDL 2: 318-20; see also, “Summary of Corrected Dates of Letters,” Appendix 5, Habegger, 644.

86 Leyda 1: 334. See also LL 1: 350-66.

87 LL 1: 361, 366.

88 Ibid., 357.

89 Mudge, Image of Home, 138-39.

90 Cf. Emerson’s 1855 and 1857 speeches in LL 1: 350-66; 2: 37-40.

91 Leyda 1: 351.

92 Sue must have shared her opinion of “Brahma” with Emily in 1857: “It seemed subtle to the thoughtful, absurd to the dull and uncultured, and soon became the butt of newspaper jokes and caricatures, and a frequent topic in general society.... I ventured to question the “Rosetta Stone” [RWE] after the lecture, as we sat about the fire — for he was our guest at the time — and he smiled in his grave, wise way, when I spoke of it as a sort of Sphinx, and replied, ‘Oh there is nothing to understand! How can they make so much fuss over it!’” (Susan Dickinson, “Annals of the Evergreens,” 1892).

93 ED to Susan Huntington Dickinson, probably 1857, EDL 1: prose fragment 10, 913.

94 Emily Dickinson undated aphorisms, EDL 3: prose fragments 58 and 69, 921-22.

95 P 1: xviii-xix; Sewall, 2: 537-38; The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Variorum Edition, 3 vols., ed. R. W. Franklin (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1998), 1: 639. Hereafter Fr.

96 “This is my letter to the World,” P I 441, 340; Fr 1: 519; “This Was a Poet —,” P I 448, 346-47; Fr 1: 446.

97 R. W. Emerson, “The Poet,” Essays: Second Series (Boston: 1862), 23.

98 ED to T. W. Higginson, L 2: 404, 409, 412, 415, 460.

99 Leyda 2: 102; Emerson’s six lectures and two speeches in the area were Oct. 17: “Social Aims in America;” Oct. 18: “American Life;” Oct. 19: “Resources;” Oct. 20: “Table Talk;” Oct. 21: “Books, Poetry, and Criticism;” Oct. 22, Sunday: “Immortality,” Free Congregational Association and “Natural Religion,” both at Florence, near Northampton; Oct. 23: “Success;” Oct. 24: probably “American Life” in Amherst. Von Frank, 409-10.

100 Sewall 2: Chronology, xxii; L 2: 441-44.

101 EDL 2: 460.

102 Ibid., 462.

103 JMN 16: 277; on February 28, 1879, Emerson spoke at College Hall to a poor audience. Leyda 2: 309-10.

104 P 1: 67, 53; also xxx-xxxi; Fr 112; Leyda 2: 302-03.

105 Habegger, 559.

106 “I Like a look of Agony,” P 1 241, 174: Fr 339.

107 Mudge, Image of Home, 198, 271, Nos. 6, 7, 8. This sort of title came easily to Dickinson; she had long named favorite friends with their home cities: Bowles was her “Springfield;” Wadsworth, “Philadelphia;” Otis P. Lord would become “Salem.”

108 EDL 2: 539.

109 P 2: 754, 575; Fr 764.

110 EDL 3: 727.

111 William James (WJ) to John Madison Fletcher, April 1, 1904, in The Correspondence of William James, eds. Ignas K. Skrupskelis and Elizabeth M. Berkeley (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 2002), 10: 391. Hereafter CWJ.

112 Gay Wilson Allen, William James, A Biography (New York: Viking Press, 1967), 13.

113 Leon Edel, Henry James: A Life (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), 8-10.

114 Henry James, Sr. to William James, March 18, 1868, CWJ 4: 267-68; see William’s reaction to his father’s comments on Emerson in WJ to Henry James, April 5, 1867, CWJ 1: 45. Edel, Henry James: A Life, 10.

115 Henry James, Sr., “Emerson,” Atlantic Monthly 94 (1904), 743.

116 Daniel W. Bjork, William James: The Center of His Vision (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), 41.

117 Gerald E. Myers, introduction to CWJ, 11 vols. (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1992), 1: xix-xxxi; xliv-v. See also, Gerald E. Myers, “Chronology of the Life of William James,” in his William James: His Life and Thought (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1986), xvii-xviii.

118 Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America (New York: Farrar, Strouse, and Giroux, 2001), 23-25.

119 Ibid., 22.

120 WJ to Thomas Wren Ward, January 7, 1868, CWJ 4: 246. WJ to Catherine E. Havens, March 18, 1877, ibid., 556-57. WJ to HJ, July 4, 1898, almost exactly quotes last line of E’s poem, “Good-Bye”: “I wish I might see the wonder of Lamb House myself — But what profits the pomp of emperors; when man in the bush may meet with God?” Ibid., 3: 38. WJ to Carl Stumpf, May 26, 1893, ibid., 7: 425, 427. WJ to Theodore Flournoy, August 13, 1895, ibid., 8: 71, 73. WJ to Katharine O. Rodgers, August 5, 1899, ibid., 9: 17-18; see also 593; WJ to WJ, Jr., May 14, 1900, advises reading Emerson’s essays on self-reliance, spiritual laws, the Over-Soul, etc., ibid., 597-98. WJ to Pauline Goldmark, August 2, 1902, ibid., 10: 97. WJ to Sarah W. Whitman, June 12, 1904, ibid., 10: 413. WJ to Pauline Goldmark, September 12, 1907, ibid., 11: 443-44.

121 WJ to Alice James, June 15, 1862, ibid., 4: 74. WJ to Ralph Waldo Emerson, April 6, 1867, ibid., 156-57; WJ to his mother Alice G. James, June 12, 1867, ibid., 178; WJ to Edmund Tweedy, December 18, 1867, writes of Emerson’s works having “gone right to [Hermann] Grimm’s heart” (ibid., 241).

122 WJ to R. W. Emerson, April 6, 1867, ibid., 4: 156-57.

123 Myers, James, 46.

124 WJ to Alice James, 27 July 1872, CWJ 4: 427, 428n; WJ to Alice James, December 11, 1873, ibid., 468; WJ to Robertson James, June 24, 1874: WJ speaks of Emerson’s “almost absolute oblivion of proper names, & his increasingly groping way of talk.” Ibid., 494; also WJ to RJ, September 20, 1874, WJ writes of “old mr. Emerson more gaunt & lop sided than ever” (ibid., 501). Edel, Henry James, 135-36, 151.

125 Myers, “Chronology of the Life of William James,” James, xvii-xviii; Myers, CWJ 1: xxxiv.

126 WJ to Henry James, February 6, 1887, CWJ 2: 80-81. HJ’s review of Cabot’s A Memoir of Ralph Waldo Emerson was published in Macmillan’s Magazine 57 (Dec 1887), 86-98, http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000389431. In 1869, Emerson also showed his interest in the James’ brothers by his pleasure in reading Henry’s letters from Italy. WJ to HJ, December 5, 1869, CWJ 1: 128.

127 WJ to HJ, May 3, 1903, CWJ 3: 234. Henry called both Emerson and Hawthorne “exquisite geniuses” and “exquisite provincials.” Apparently, he was greatly moved by Emerson’s supposed innocence — his father’s angle on Emerson — that Henry Jr. equated with provinciality. See Edel, Henry James, A Life, 121.

128 WJ to HJ, May 3, 1903, CWJ 3: 234.

129 HJ to WJ, May 24, 1903, CWJ 3: 240.

130 WJ to Frances R. Morse, May 26, 1903, CWJ 10: 251-52; WJ to WJ, Jr., May 29, 1903, ibid., 252-53.

131 WJ to H. W. Rankin, June 10, 1903, CWJ 10: 266-67.

132 Allen, William James, 166-67, 432-33; Bjork, William James, 97-98.

133 WJ to?, February?, 1903, CWJ 10: 208.

134 Robert Dawidoff, CWJ 3: xxvii-xxviii.

135 As quoted in Myers, James, 298.

136 Benjamin P. Blood to WJ, August 28, 1907, CWJ 11: 433.

137 WJ to Dickinson S. Miller, November 10, 1905, CWJ 11: 111-12. Santayana, having received a similar letter from James, countered that he was a Latin to whom only politics are serious, and that Emerson apparently did not care about humanity’s insane, disastrous acts in the name of religion. He also felt that James had missed his (Santayana’s) allusion to a lost perfectionism in “some idealized reality.” George Santayana to WJ, December 6, 1905, ibid., 578.

138 WJ to Alice G. James, January 30, 1906, ibid., 581.

139 WJ to Alexander R. James (son), January 17, 1909, CWJ 12: 149-50.

140 WJ to William C. Brownell, September 2, 1909, ibid., 314-15. Brownell’s article, “Emerson,” appeared in Scribner’s Magazine 46 (November 1909), 608-24.

141 Barbara Packer points to the essential political and social context of the 1850s in which Emerson wrote his lectures, later collected in The Conduct of Life (1860). Historical Introduction, “The Conduct of Life,” CW 6: xv-lxvii.

142 WJ to Henry P. Bowditch, November 9, 1909, ibid., 360.

143 Frank Lloyd Wright, “Index,” An Autobiography (New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1943), 561.

144 He boasted not to have read Sullivan, since working side by side with him, his ideas had been “an open book”, ibid.

145 Maginel Wright Barney, The Valley of the God-Almighty Joneses (New York: Appleton-Century, 1965), 59-60.

146 Finis Farr, Frank Lloyd Wright (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1961), 15.

147 Harvard art historian Charles Eliot Norton, friend to Emerson, Ruskin and Carlyle, also devotedly advocated art as a key instrument in building a democratic culture. He worked to coalesce America’s technology with aesthetics. Kevin Nute, Frank Lloyd Wright and Japan (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993), 10-11.

148 Ibid., 24; Farr, 7-8; Wright, Autobiography, 17; F. L. Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writings, ed. Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer (New York: Rizzoli, 1992), 113-14. Hereafter, Wright CW.

149 Ada Louise Huxtable, Frank Lloyd Wright (New York: Lipper/Viking, 2004), 37-38.

150 A founder of the Nineteenth Century Woman’s Club, Anna Wright gave “classes in Emerson and Browning and papers on... the naturalist John Burroughs.” Meryle Secrest, Frank Lloyd Wright (New York: Knopf, 1992), 225.

151 Ibid., 46.

152 Huxtable, xv-xvi.

153 Farr, 79-80.

154 Mark Gelernter, A History of American Architecture: Buildings in Their Cultural and Technological Context (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1999), 212-14.

155 Huxtable, 70.

156 Frank Lloyd Wright & Lewis Mumford: Thirty Years of Correspondence, eds. Bruce B. Pfeiffer and Robert Wojtowic (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2001), 5.

157 Farr, 79.

158 Huxtable, 76-77.

159 Wright and Mumford Correspondence, 27.

160 Ibid., 6, 8, 9, 10-11, 21, 22-23.

161 Ibid., 38-39.

162 Probably “Surface and Mass — Again!” Architectural Record 66 (July 1919), 92-94. Ibid., 61.

163 Ibid., 195-96.

164 Ibid., 233.

165 Wright CW 2: 28, 43; 3: 75.

166 Ibid., 3: 217-18.

167 Ibid., 5: 251.

168 Ibid., 341-43. Just the year before, Wright had published A Testament, a reprise of his life and thoughts. He headed one section of the book, “POET —“Unacknowledged legislator of the world” with no attribution to the original Shelley quote. But he credited Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman with his self-image as a poet-architect, the world’s first, he claimed. A Testament (New York: Horizon Press, 1957), 58-59.

169 Secrest, 13.

Table des illustrations

Légende 5.1 James Russell Lowell at 49, 1868.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/2300/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 16k
Légende 5.2 Emerson’s top hat, [n. d.].
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/2300/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 16k
Légende 5.3 Abraham Lincoln at 45, 27 October 1854.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/2300/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 16k
Légende 5.4 Abraham Lincoln at about 56, c. 1865.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/2300/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 16k
Légende 5.5 Walt Whitman at 34-36, 1853-1855.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/2300/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 20k
Légende 5.6 Walt Whitman at 68, 1887.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/2300/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 16k
Légende 5.7 Emily Dickinson at 16, 1846.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/2300/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 20k
Légende 5.8 Emily Dickinson at 29? and unknown friend, 1859?
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/2300/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 28k
Légende 5.9 William James at 27, 1869.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/2300/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 20k
Légende 5.10 William James at 61, 1903.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/2300/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 8,0k
Légende 5.11 Frank Lloyd Wright at 59, c. 1 March 1926.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/2300/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 9,1k

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