Self-Reliance Criticism

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There are two distinct bodies of criticism of Emerson's work: commentary on his writing and commentary on his thinking. As a writer, Emerson has been consistently praised through the years from all quarters. Joel Myerson, in Concise Dictionary of Literary Biography: 1640-1865, quotes Rene Wellek, a highly respected historian of literary criticism, as deeming Emerson "the outstanding representative of romantic symbolism in the English-speaking world." Myerson himself adds:

Ralph Waldo Emerson is perhaps the single most influential figure in American literary history. More than any other author of his day, he was responsible for shaping the literary style and vision of the American romantic period, the era when the United States first developed a distinctively national literature worthy of comparison to that of the mother country.

Myerson goes on to cite Emerson's influence on Thoreau, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson.

Alfred S. Reid, in Style in...

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This section contains 680 words
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