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By Michael T. Gilmore

''This publication can take its position at the shelf beside Henry Nash Smith's Virgin Land and Leo Marx's The desktop within the backyard .''—Choice ''[Gilmore] demonstrates the profound, sustained, engagement with society embodied within the works of Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau and Melville. In impact, he relocates the yank Renaissance the place it effectively belongs, on the centre of a extensive social, monetary, and ideological stream from the Jacksonian period to the Civil struggle. essentially, Gilmore's argument issues the writers' participation in what Thoreau known as 'the curse of trade.' He information their combined resistance to and complicity within the burgeoning literary market and, by means of extension, the whole ' financial revolution' which among 1830 and 1860 'transformed the us right into a industry society'. . . . ''The result's a version of literary-historical revisionism. Gilmore's commencing chapters on Emerson and Thoreau exhibit that 'transcendental' concept and language can come absolutely alive whilst understood in the fabric techniques and ideological constraints in their time. . . . the remainder 5 chapters, on Hawthorne and Melville, include the most penetrating fresh commentaries at the aesthetic ideas of yank Romantic fiction, awarded inside of and during probably the most astute, considerate issues i do know of commodification and the 'democratic public' in mid-nineteenth-century the USA. . . . virtually and methodologically, American Romanticism and undefined has an important position within the move in the direction of a brand new American literary background. It locations Gilmore on the leading edge of a brand new new release of critics who're not only reinterpreting well-known texts or gaining knowledge of new texts to interpret, yet reshaping our methods of wondering literature and culture.''—Sacvan Bercovitch, instances Literary complement ''Gilmore writes with strength, readability, and wit. The reader is enriched by way of this book.'' William H. Shurr, American Literature

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As the narrative progresses, he seems to grow intent upon suppressing all traces of autobiography and treating his two years at the pond as a timeless and universal experience. "In contrast to the specificity of the opening chapter, which takes place in Concord, Massachusetts, in the year 1845, the ending is situated in no time and no physical location. Thoreau declares open war on history: after ridiculing the "transient and fleeting" doings of his contemporaries, he vows "not to live in this restless, nervous, bustling, trivial Nineteenth Century, but stand or sit thoughtfully while it goes by" (pp.

4 This Emerson takes his ideal of self-reliance from the agrarian or Jeffersonian past rather than the commercial and industrial future. In common with many of his contemporaries, he sees the new economic order as a threat to individual autonomy, an indication not so much of man's power over his environment as of the instability of the material world. Yet even at this stage of his career one can detect the Emerson who will subsequently assert in "Wealth," 'The counting-room maxims liberally expounded are laws of the universe.

His criticisms of trade as degrading and capricious decline in importance until they largely disappear by the Civil War. His defense of the market as rational and even spiritual in its operations, the view implicit in Nature and "Compensation," grows more dominant in the same period, even as laissez-faire ideology proves increasingly influential in American culture. This favorable view is especially strong in a work like 'Wealth," where Emerson repudiates the radical "excesses" of his early thought and glorifies worldly success as a sign of spiritual election.

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