Published here for the first time are seven of Emerson's topical notebooks, which served as a source for his lectures, essays, and books of the 1850s, 1860s, and 1870s. Concerned primarily with nature, art, philosophy, American culture, and his comtemporaries, the notebooks presented in this first of a three-volume editions afford fascinating insight into Emerson's creative practices. They will offer new perspectives for future readings of his completed works.
The editors provide faithful transcriptions of the notebooks using the highest standards of textual practice. Their detailed annotations describe and comment on erased or revised passages, translate Greek and Latin quotations, and identify books and articles referred to in the texts of the notebooks. References to similar passages in Emerson's journals, lectures, and published works are also provided in the annotations.
Publication of these notebooks will inable scholars to trace ideas that have gone unnoticed previously. The Topical Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume 1, offers valuable insight into the art and philosophy of one of America's foremost thinkers. These volumes will be an important addition to any personal or institutional library of nine-teenth-century American literature.