Anglo-American Antiphony: The Late Romanticism of Tennyson and Emerson

By Richard E. Brantley | Go to book overview
Save to active project


Although Emerson's perspective deepens over time and although his tones vary, his ideas/ideals of sensation tend to unify his works. Stephen E. Whicher, it is true, traces changes from Emerson the rhapsodist ( 1841- 43), through Emerson the reformer ( 1844-45), to Emerson the preacher of the "sacredness of private integrity" ( 1846-52).1 Whicher notes, accordingly, Emerson's tonal modulations from the prophetic, through the dramatic, to the "coolly professional." David Van Leer, however, by focusing on Emerson's ideas about Kantian epistemology and German idealism, resists, as I do, the notion of distinct stages in Emerson's life of writing: "Although Emerson clearly comes to understand more fully the {epistemological} question with which he began his philosophical career, the issues themselves remain sufficiently constant that it may be unwise to speak of this refinement as 'growth' or 'change.'"2"At the very least," Van Leer adds, "it seems unfair to see the tonal progression from Circles through Experience to Fate as the characteristic shift: each of these pessimistic essays is published in a collection whose predominant tone is optimistic." Rather than echoing Van Leer's influence studies through German idealism, I call attention to Emerson's British as well as American reflection of Lockean epistemology and empirical-evangelical philosophical theology. Consistent with the method I see in In Memoriam and throughout my exposition of Emerson's prose method, I argue that the empirical-evangelical dialectic he forges in Nature ( 1836)3 methodically and faithfully synthesizes the aesthetic as well as intellectual-emotional effects he creates in seven other characteristic essays. The American Scholar, The Divinity School Address, Self-Reliance, The Over-Soul, and The Poet ( 1837-42), first, com


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Anglo-American Antiphony: The Late Romanticism of Tennyson and Emerson


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 354

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?