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First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process

by Robert D. Richardson

[From the dust jacket:] "Writing was the central passion of Emerson's life. While his thoughts on the craft are well developed in "The Poet," "The American Scholar,"Nature, "Goethe," and "Persian Poetry," less well known are the many pages in his private journals devoted to the relationship between writing and reading. Here, for the first time, is the Concord Sage's energetic, exuberant, and unconventional advice on the idea of writing, focused and distilled by the preeminent Emerson biographer at work today. Emerson advised that "the way to write is to throw your body at the mark when your arrows are spent. "First We Read, Then We Writecontains numerous such surprises-from "every word we speak is million-faced" to "talent alone cannot make a writer"-but it is no mere collection of aphorisms and exhortations. Instead, in Robert Richardson's hands, the biographical and historical context in which Emerson worked becomes clear. Emerson's advice grew from his personal experience; in practically every moment of his adult life he was either preparing to write, trying to write, or writing. Richardson shows us an Emerson who is no granite bust but instead is a fully fleshed, creative person disarmingly willing to confront his own failures. Emerson urges his readers to try anything-strategies, tricks, makeshifts-speaking not only of the nuts and bolts of writing but also of the grain and sinew of his determination. Whether a writer by trade or a novice, every reader will find something to treasure in this volume. Fearlessly wrestling with "the birthing stage of art," Emerson's counsel on being a reader and writer will be read and reread for years to come."

October, or Autumnal Tints

by Henry D. Thoreau Robert D. Richardson Lincoln Perry

"A gorgeous edition" (Boston Globe) of Thoreau's classic work, enhanced with an illuminating essay and beautiful watercolors. Originally delivered as a lecture shortly before the writer's own death, Henry David Thoreau's classic "Autumnal Tints" is an ode to autumn not as the season of death and decay, but of ripeness, fullness, and maturity. It is perhaps the best piece ever written on the subject of the fall color of the changing leaves. Thoreau hoped one day to turn it into an illustrated book called "October, or Autumnal Tints." Thoreau's astute meditations are framed by a biographical essay by acclaimed scholar Robert D. Richardson that delves into the events and relationships influencing Thoreau's philosophy. Sensuous watercolors by Lincoln Perry bring to life the fall colors described so ecstatically by Thoreau, allowing longtime Thoreau fans and leaf-peepers alike to feel as though they are walking among the falling leaves alongside one of our best observers of the natural world.

William James

by Robert D. Richardson

Pivotal member of the Metaphysical Club, author of The Varieties of Religious Experience, older brother of extraordinary siblings Henry and Alice, the remarkable William James put an indelible stamp on psychology, philosophy, teaching, and religion -- on modernism itself. In this thought-provoking and moving biography, James emerges as an immensely complex and fascinating man. Through passionate scholarship, Robert D. Richardson illuminates James's life and hugely influential works: the Varieties, Principles of Psychology, Talks to Teachers, and Pragmatism. At last, in this definitive work William James is given his due as a man whose influence resonates in innumerable areas of modern life.

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