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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of English Language and Literature

Faculty and Staff Directory

Joel Myerson

Professor Emeritus
Carolina Distinguished Professor of American Literature
Department of English Language and Literature

Phone Number: (803) 777-2165
Office: HUO 414


PhD, Northwestern University, 1971
MA, Northwestern University, 1968
BA, Tulane University, 1967

Areas of Specialization 

   Nineteenth-Century American Literature
   Textual and bibliographical studies
   Textual editing

Professional Accolades 

Among Professor Myerson's honors are research grants or fellowships from the American Philosophical Society (three), National Endowment for the Humanities (summer fellowship and five multi-year grants from the research programs division), Guggenheim Foundation, Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association, and South Carolina Committee for the Humanities. Five of his books have been designated by Choice as an "Outstanding Academic Book" of the year. He has received both the Distinguished Service Award and the Lyman H. Butterfield award for contributions to the field of documentary editing from the Association for Documentary Editing. The Philological Association of the Carolinas has designated him its "Honoree in English" and held a special session in his honor; and he has been elected to membership in the American Antiquarian Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

The Journals of Louisa May Alcott, which he co edited, received the Children's Literature Association book award. Emersonian Circles: Essays in Honor of Joel Myerson, ed. Wesley T. Mott and Robert E. Burkholder, was published by the University of Rochester Press in 1997; also in that year he received the English department's "Teacher of the Year" award. In 2000 he was given the Distinguished Achievement Award of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, and in 2004 the Thoreau Society awarded him its highest honor, the Thoreau Society Medal. The Myerson Fellowship in American Literature was established and funded by the English department in his honor.

Professor Myerson has been active in professional organizations, serving as president of the Louisa May Alcott Society, Association for Documentary Editing, Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, Margaret Fuller Society, Philological Association of the Carolinas, and Thoreau Society.

Current Research Projects 

   Co-editor, The Account Books of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Selected Publications 


   Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Major Prose, ed. Ronald Bosco and Joel Myerson (Harvard, 2015)

His works include a history of the Dial magazine (1980); annotated secondary bibliographies of Brook Farm (1978), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1985, 1994), and Margaret Fuller (1977, 1998); descriptive primary bibliographies of Emily Dickinson (1984), Emerson (1982, 2005), Fuller (1978), Theodore Parker (1981), and Walt Whitman (1993); editions of writings by Louisa May Alcott (1988, 1990, 1991; also Selected Letters [1987], Journals [1989], and The Inheritance [1997]), Christopher Pearse Cranch (1993), Emerson (Antislavery Writings [1995], Selected Letters [1997], Later Lectures [2001], Selected Lectures [2005], Letters and Social Aims [2010]), Fuller (1978, 1980, 2000), Nathaniel Hawthorne (Selected Letters [2002]), Whitman (1993), and Transcendentalism: A Reader (2000); such bibliographical works as The Transcendentalists: A Review of Research and Criticism (1984); collections of essays on Brook Farm (1987), Emerson (1982, 1983, 1992, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2010), Fuller (1980, 2008), Henry David Thoreau (1988, 1995), Transcendentalism (1982), Whitman (1991, 2000), the profession of authorship (1996), and The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism (2010); co-authoring The Emerson Brothers: A Fraternal Biography in Letters (2006); and editing the annual Studies in the American Renaissance (1977-1996).

The publishers of these books include Cambridge University Press, Columbia University Press, Dutton Books, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Gale Research Company, Garland Publishers, Greenwood Press, G. K. Hall, Harvard University Press, Little, Brown, Massachusetts Historical Society, Modern Language Association, Oak Knoll Press, Ohio State University Press, Oxford University Press, Penguin Books, Southern Illinois University Press, Twayne Publishers, University of Georgia Press, University of Iowa Press, University of Pittsburgh Press, University of South Carolina Press, University Press of Virginia, and Yale University Press.

Recent Presentations 

Professor Myerson has delivered papers or chaired sessions at meetings of the American Literature Association, Association for Documentary Editing, Australasian Children's Literature Association for Research, Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association, Bibliographical Society of America, Canadian Association of American Studies, Charleston (S.C.) Library Conference, Children's Literature Association, Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, International Humor Association, Jack London Society, Modern Language Association, Nineteenth Century Studies Association, Northeast Modern Language Association, Philological Association of the Carolinas, International Poe Conference, Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, Society for Textual Scholarship, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing, Society for the Study of American Women Writers, South Atlantic Modern Language Association, South Central Modern Language Association, and Thoreau Society.

He has also lectured at Abdelmalek es Saadi University (Morocco), Baldwin-Wallace College, Boston University, Cambridge University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Concord Free Public Library, Concord Museum, Concord School of Philosophy, Dunedin (New Zealand) Public Library, Florida State University, Fruitlands Museums, Harvard University, Hiroshima University, House of the Seven Gables, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Kyushu University, Massachusetts Historical Society, Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Northeastern University, Oregon State University, Peking University (Beijing), Ritsumeikan University (Japan), St. John's College (Santa Fe), Salem State College, Soka University (Japan), State University of New York at Geneseo, Texas A & M University, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Florida, University of Ghent, University of Iowa, University of Manchester (England), University of Nebraska, University of North Carolina, University of Otago (New Zealand), University of Rome A La Sapienza, University of Tennessee, University of Tokyo, University of Toledo, University of Vermont, Villanova University, Washington State University, and in Australia (Adelaide, Launceston [Tasmania], Melbourne, Sydney, Wollongong), Canada (Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg), Edinburgh, France (Lyon, Paris), Luxembourg, Mexico (Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta), and New Zealand (Dunedin, Wellington).

He was awarded a short-term Fulbright lectureship in Japan in 2002 (for talks on Emerson) and a Fulbright Senior Specialist fellowship in New Zealand in 2005 (for talks on Whitman).

Other Information 

The Joel Myerson Collection of Nineteenth-Century American Literature at the University of South Carolina, donated in 2001, commemorates over thirty years of book collecting by Professor Myerson. His collection comprises approximately 12,000 volumes, including major collections of works by Dickinson, Emerson, Fuller, Parker, and Whitman. The Joel Myerson Collection of Nineteenth-Century American Manuscripts, Images, and Ephemera is on-line at collections/Myerson.html. He has curated exhibits on Emerson, Fuller, Transcendentalism, and Whitman at South Carolina; on Emerson at the Houghton Library of Harvard University; and on Whitman at the University of Otago (New Zealand).