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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of English Language and Literature


New Publication on Visualizing Ralph Waldo Emerson

Joel Myerson publishes vital new resource for Emerson studies.

English Professor Emeritus Joel Myerson has co-authored, with Leslie Perrin Wilson, a significant new scholarly resource for studies of Ralph Waldo Emerson: Picturing Emerson: An Iconography, published by Harvard University Press in May 2017.

Picturing Emerson reproduces and explores the background of all known images of Ralph Waldo Emerson created from life, including drawings, paintings, silhouettes, sculptures, and photographs. The book provides dates for these images; information about their makers and Emerson’s sittings; as well as commentary by family members and contemporaries. The resulting work makes it possible for the first time to trace Emerson’s visage over seven decades.

Dating and correctly identifying images of Emerson has long challenged scholars, collectors, and the general public. By examining over fifty years of archival and published research—including web resources, library catalogs, and correspondence with international collections—the authors have been able to locate nearly 140 images dating from 1829 to immediately before Emerson’s death in 1882.

This book is the latest contribution to the field by Professor Myerson, who has written or edited over sixty books on Emerson and the Transcendentalists.