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2020-09-15 09:42:06
EMERSON, Ralph Waldo
An Oration delivered before the literary societies of Dartmouth College, July 24, 1838
Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1838. 8vo (23 x 14 cm). Inserted engraved frontispiece portrait of Emerson. 30 pages (binding blanks inserted at end). Early 20th-century half dark green morocco, original blue wrappers bound in, top edges gilt. Provenance: Jane F. Tuckerman (1852-1947; ink ownership signature on title). FIRST EDITION. "All literature is yet to be written," Emerson proclaimed in his talk, titled "Literary Ethics." It was the second in what was to become a long series of lectures on the American scholar and what he now called for the first time the American mind. He noted again the failure of America to produce major imaginative work, and the "feudal straps of bondage," while emphasizing the need for common humanity: "The impoverishing philosophy of ages has laid stress on the distinction of the individual, and not on the universal attributes of man... The condition of our incarnation in a private self, seems to be a perpetual tendency to prefer the private law, to obey the private impulse, to the exclusion of the law of the universal being." He firmly rejected a withdrawal from the world of the intellectual, saying "Not insulation of place, but independence of spirit is essential." His talk proved of enormous influence on the flowering of American letters that followed. See Robert D. Richardson, Jr., Emerson: The Mind on Fire, UofCal, 1995, p. 295. BAL 5185; Myerson A8.1. A few occasional foxmarks, but a clean, handsome copy. [Attributes: First Edition]
Bookseller: Riverrun Books & Manuscripts [USA]

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