Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844-1846

By Judith Mattson Bean; Joel Myerson | Go to book overview

Emerson's Essays

At the distance of three years this volume follows the first series of Essays, which have already made to themselves a circle of readers, attentive, thoughtful, more and more intelligent, and this circle is a large one if we consider the circumstances of this country, and of England, also, at this time.1

In England it would seem there are a larger number of persons waiting for an invitation to calm thought and sincere intercourse than among ourselves. Copies of Mr. Emerson's first published little volume called “Nature,” have there been sold by thousands in a short time, while one edition has needed seven years to get circulated here. Several of his Orations and Essays from “The Dial” have also been republished there, and met with a reverent and earnest response.2

We suppose that while in England the want of such a voice is as great as here, a larger number are at leisure to recognize that want; a far larger number have set foot in the speculative region and have ears refined to appreciate these melodious accents.

Our people, heated by a partisan spirit, necessarilyn occupied in these first stages by bringing out the material resources of the land, not generally prepared by early training for the enjoyment of books that require attention and reflection, are still more injured by a large majority of writers and speakers, who lend all their efforts to flatter corrupt tastes and mental indolence,

____________________
1
Essays: First Series had been published on 20 March 1841. Fuller comments on the present review in a letter to Emerson: “Your book I have read quite through … but will not mar the effect by a few inadequate words. It will be a companion through my life. In expression it seems far more adequate than the former volume, has more glow, more fusion. Two or three cavils I should make at present, but will not, till I have examined further if they be correct” (Letters, 3:243).
2
Perhaps fifteen hundred copies of Nature sold between 1836, when it was published, and 1844; there was no British edition. Both Man the Reformer (1842) and The Young American (1844) were reprinted separately in England from the Dial, and other Dial essays were included with addresses in Nature; an Essay. And Lectures on the Times (1844) and Orations, Lectures, and Addresses (1844) for British publication.
n
necesarily [necessarily

-1-

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