The Rhodora Essay

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In the following excerpt, Yoder divulges Emerson's poetic influences and discusses themes within "The Rhodora" that are echoed in his essays.

An exhaustive study would show how Emerson moved from an undergraduate's imitation of Augustan couplets to a variety of less polished and less constraining verse forms—ballads, epigram- matic quatrains, Wordsworthian blank verse in 1827, and the extraordinary if ungainly "Gnothi Seauton" of 1831, lines that are as unorthodox in form as they are in doctrine, and that prefigure Emerson's settled practices of a decade later. Emerson was not, however, consciously preparing himself for a poetic career. The role of his journal poetry is unquestionably self-expression, dialogue with oneself—moving away from the style of performance toward a means of formulating one's private convictions, or, as Leslie Fiedler has suggested, toward "the speech of a man urging himself on, rather than appealing to a crowd." To summarize these early...

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This section contains 1,926 words
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Poetry for Students
The Rhodora from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.