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Emerson and Self-Culture

reviewed by William Proefriedt - August 25, 2008

coverTitle: Emerson and Self-Culture
Author(s): John T. Lysaker
Publisher: Indiana University Press, Bloomington
ISBN: 025321971X, Pages: 226, Year: 2008
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We begin reading Emerson with some academic purpose in mind but soon find that he inspires and provokes us to live our lives differently and better. In the “American Scholar, “ Emerson announces, “Only so much do I know as I have lived. Instantly we know whose words are loaded with life, and whose are not” (Emerson, 1966, p. 86). We scholars feel inspired by Emerson’s thought; even intend to pattern our lives on it, though we rarely do. John T. Lysaker, however, is no such slacker. Emerson has found a reader of high seriousness in him.    Lysaker is interested in his own “self-culture,” and engages with Emerson primarily to pursue that task.   He wants to know how best to live an “eloquent” life and finds Emerson a worthy guide and sometime adversary in his endeavor. Make no mistake about it though. This is no simplified self-help book. Lysaker has... (preview truncated at 150 words.)

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: August 25, 2008
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15353, Date Accessed: 10/25/2020 9:53:46 PM

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About the Author
  • William Proefriedt
    Queens College, C.U.N.Y.
    E-mail Author
    WILLIAM PROEFRIEDT, Professor Emeritus at Queens College, C.U.N.Y., presently works as writing mentor in C.U.N.Y.ís Faculty Fellows Publication Program. He has just published High expectations: the cultural roots of standards reform in American education. New York: Teachers College Press. 2008. He is interested in the connections between current educational policy and larger issues in American culture.
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