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)



OCLC Number





  • DS
  • BG
  • HB
  • HPQ


  • LIT004020
  • HIS036040
  • BIO000000
  • PHI005000


  • PS1631


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


[Mr Emerson's Revolution] is an important and accessible contribution to the intellectual history of nineteenth-century social and moral reform.

Tiffany K. Wayne

"Mr. Emerson's Revolution". Journal of American History (0021-8723), vol. 103, no. 4, 2017. doi:10.1093/jahist/jaw529

Full Review

Table of Contents


Foreword: Emerson’s Renewing Power

John Stauffer and Steven Brown

Introduction: Emerson as Spiritual and Social Revolutionary

Jean McClure Mudge

The Making of a Protester

1.1 A Legacy of Revolt, 1803-1821

Phyllis Cole

1.2 Becoming an American "Adam,” 1822-1835

Wesley T. Mott

Public and Private Revolutions

2.1 The "New Thinking”: Nature, Self, and Society, 1836-1850

David M. Robinson

2.2 Dialogues with Self and Society, 1835-1860

Jean McClure Mudge

Emerson the Reformer

3. A Pragmatic Idealist in Action, 1850-1865

Len Gougeon

Emerson’s Evolving Emphases

4. Actively Entering Old Age, 1865-1882

Jean McClure Mudge

Emerson’s Legacy in America

5. Spawning a Wide New Consciousness

Jean McClure Mudge

Emerson in the West and East

6.1 Europe in Emerson and Emerson in Europe

Beniamino Soressi

6.2 Asia in Emerson and Emerson in Asia

Alan Hodder

Emerson: A Chronology

Selected Bibliography

List of Illustrations