Mr. Emerson's Revolution - cover image


Jean McClure Mudge. Copyright of individual chapters is maintained by the chapter’s author(s).

Published On





  • English

Print Length

490 pages (xxiv + 466)


Paperback156 x 34 x 234 mm(6.14" x 1.33" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 38 x 234 mm(6.14" x 1.5" x 9.21")


Paperback2025g (71.43oz)
Hardback2431g (85.75oz)




  • The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society

OCLC Number





  • DS
  • BG
  • HB
  • HPQ


  • LIT004020
  • HIS036040
  • BIO000000
  • PHI005000


  • PS1631


  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • abolition
  • women's rights
  • United States
  • emancipation
  • social change

Mr. Emerson's Revolution

  • Jean McClure Mudge (editor)
This volume traces the life, thought and work of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a giant of American intellectual history, whose transforming ideas greatly strengthened the two leading reform issues of his day: abolition and women’s rights. A broad and deep, yet cautious revolutionary, he spoke about a spectrum of inner and outer realities—personal, philosophical, theological and cultural—all of which gave his mid-career turn to political and social issues their immediate and lasting power.
This multi-authored study frankly explores Emerson's private prejudices against blacks and women while he also publicly championed their causes. Such a juxtaposition freshly charts the evolution of Emerson's slow but steady application of his early neo-idealism to emancipating blacks and freeing women from social bondage. His shift from philosopher to active reformer had lasting effects not only in America but also abroad.
In the U.S. Emerson influenced such diverse figures as Thoreau, Whitman, Dickinson and William James and in Europe Mickiewicz, Wilde, Kipling, Nietzsche, and Camus in Europe as well as many leading followers in India and Japan. The book includes over 170 illustrations, among them eight custom-made maps of Emerson's haunts and wide-ranging lecture itineraries as well as a new four-part chronology of his life placed alongside both national and international events as well as major inventions.
Mr. Emerson's Revolution provides essential reading for students and teachers of American intellectual history, the abolitionist and women’s rights movement―and for anyone interested in the nineteenth-century roots of these seismic social changes.


In Mr Emerson's Revolution, Jean McClure Mudge and a team of leading Emerson scholars tell the story of Emerson's life and work as one of serial moral-political change. They give us a multi-perspectival but thematically unified recounting of the whole arc of Emerson's career from the point of view of his evolving orientation towards abolition, women's rights, and social reform more generally. [...] Mudge's probing treatment of the crisis provoked by Fuller's forceful emergence into Emerson's life provides one of the book's most original sections. [...] In classical Republican thought the term 'revolution' suggested circular turning rather than linear forward movement. With this in mind it becomes possible to see both trajectories in play over the long course of Emerson's political (r)evolution as described here by Mudge et al. Emerson's constant moving forward, we learn, like that of his country at its best, was paradoxically enabled by no less constant recourse to a stable set of emancipatory moral principles.

Neal Dolan

"Mr. Emerson’s Revolution. JEAN MCCLURE MUDGE". Emerson Society Papers (1050-4362), vol. 29, no. 2, 2018.

Full Review


  • Phyllis Cole
  • Jean McClure Mudge
  • Jean McClure Mudge
  • Jean McClure Mudge
  • Beniamino Soressi
  • Alan Hodder
  • John Stauffer
  • Steven Brown
  • Jean McClure Mudge