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Three roads back : how Emerson, Thoreau, and William James responded to the greatest losses of their lives  Cover Image Book Book

Three roads back : how Emerson, Thoreau, and William James responded to the greatest losses of their lives / Robert D. Richardson ; with a foreword by Megan Marshall.

Richardson, Robert D., 1934-2020 (author., Author). Marshall, Megan, (writer of foreword.).

Summary:

"This book explores resilience by tracing the linked stories of how Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and William James dealt with personal tragedy: for Emerson, the death of his young wife and, eleven years later, his five-year-old son; for Thoreau, the death of his brother; and for James, the death of his beloved cousin Minny. Weaving together biographical detail with quotations from the writers' journals and letters, Richardson shows readers how each of these writers grappled with loss and grief and ultimately achieved a level of resilience. Emerson lost his Unitarian faith but found solace in the study of nature; Thoreau leaned on the natural world's capacity for regeneration, and the comparatively small role played by individual persons; James lit upon a notion of self-governance and emotional malleability that would underwrite much of his work as a psychologist and philosopher. All three, Richardson suggests, emerged from their grief with a new way of seeing, one shaped by a belief in, as Emerson would write, "the deep remedial force that underlies all facts."-- Provided by publisher.
"From their acclaimed biographer, a final, powerful book about how Emerson, Thoreau, and William James forged resilience from devastating loss, changing the course of American thought. In Three Roads Back, Robert Richardson, the author of magisterial biographies of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and William James, tells the connected stories of how these foundational American writers and thinkers dealt with personal tragedies early in their careers. For Emerson, it was the death of his young wife and, eleven years later, his five-year-old son; for Thoreau, it was the death of his brother; and for James, it was the death of his beloved cousin Minnie Temple. Filled with rich biographical detail and unforgettable passages from the journals and letters of Emerson, Thoreau, and James, these vivid and moving stories of loss and hard-fought resilience show how the writers' responses to these deaths helped spur them on to their greatest work, influencing the birth and course of American literature and philosophy. In reaction to his traumatic loss, Emerson lost his Unitarian faith and found solace in nature. Thoreau, too, leaned on nature and its regenerative power, discovering that "death is the law of new life," an insight that would find expression in Walden. And James, following a period of panic and despair, experienced a redemptive conversion and new ideas that would drive his work as a psychologist and philosopher. As Richardson shows, all three emerged from their grief with a new way of seeing, one shaped by a belief in what Emerson called "the deep remedial force that underlies all facts." An inspiring book about resilience and the new growth and creativity that can stem from devastating loss, Three Roads Back is also an extraordinary account of the hidden wellsprings of American thought"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780691224305
  • ISBN: 0691224307
  • Physical Description: xix, 108 pages ; 19 cm
  • Publisher: Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, [2023]

Content descriptions

General Note:
Includes index.
Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Building his own world -- I will be a naturalist -- The gallantry of the private heart -- The green world -- Regeneration through nature -- The cup that my father gives me -- I had hoped to be spared this -- On every side is depth unfathomable -- Only nature has a right to grieve perpetually -- Death is the law of new life -- My friend is my real brother -- Emerson commissions a book review -- Our own limits transgressed -- The death of Minny Temple -- Minny and Henry -- Minny and William -- From panic and despair to the acceptance of free will -- The self-governing resistance of the ego to the world.
Subject: Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803-1882 > Family.
Thoreau, Henry David, 1817-1862 > Family.
James, William, 1842-1910 > Family.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803-1882.
James, William, 1842-1910.
Thoreau, Henry David, 1817-1862.
Authors, American > 19th century > Biography.
Loss (Psychology) in literature.
American literature > 19th century > History and criticism.
Écrivains américains > 19e siècle > Biographies.
Perte (Psychologie) dans la littérature.
Littérature américaine > 19e siècle > Histoire et critique.
LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General.
HISTORY / United States / 19th Century.
American literature.
Authors, American.
Families.
Loss (Psychology) in literature.
Genre: Biographies.
Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Literary criticism.
Biographies.
Biographies.
Critiques littéraires.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library System. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Public Library.

Holds

  • 0 current holds with 1 total copy.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Homer Public Library 818.309 RIC (Text) 000172999 New Books Available -


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