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By Michael T. Gilmore

''This ebook can take its position at the shelf beside Henry Nash Smith's Virgin Land and Leo Marx's The laptop within the backyard .''—Choice ''[Gilmore] demonstrates the profound, sustained, engagement with society embodied within the works of Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau and Melville. In influence, he relocates the yank Renaissance the place it appropriately belongs, on the centre of a huge social, financial, and ideological move from the Jacksonian period to the Civil struggle. essentially, Gilmore's argument matters the writers' participation in what Thoreau known as 'the curse of trade.' He info their combined resistance to and complicity within the burgeoning literary industry and, through extension, the complete ' monetary revolution' which among 1830 and 1860 'transformed the U.S. right into a industry society'. . . . ''The result's a version of literary-historical revisionism. Gilmore's beginning chapters on Emerson and Thoreau exhibit that 'transcendental' suggestion and language can come absolutely alive while understood in the fabric approaches and ideological constraints in their time. . . . the remainder 5 chapters, on Hawthorne and Melville, include the most penetrating contemporary commentaries at the aesthetic concepts of yankee Romantic fiction, provided inside and during one of the most astute, considerate concerns i do know of commodification and the 'democratic public' in mid-nineteenth-century the US. . . . virtually and methodologically, American Romanticism and undefined has an important position within the circulation in the direction of a brand new American literary historical past. It locations Gilmore on the vanguard of a brand new iteration of critics who're not only reinterpreting universal texts or getting to know new texts to interpret, yet reshaping our methods of considering literature and culture.''—Sacvan Bercovitch, instances Literary complement ''Gilmore writes with strength, readability, and wit. The reader is enriched through this book.'' William H. Shurr, American Literature

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But in this respect Walden is a notably different text from "Civil Disobedience": though both works begin, as it were, in the social world, Walden retreats into the self while "Civil Disobedience" calls for resistance to the government. This change can be seen in the Chapter Two book's very structure, its transition from "Economy" to "Conclusion," from Concord and Thoreau's neighbors to the inwardness of self-discovery. A mood of withdrawal totally dominates the final pages, as Thoreau urges his readers to turn their backs on society and look inside themselves.

It does not act upon us from without . . but spiritually, or through ourselves. Therefore . . spirit, that is, the Supreme Being, does not build up nature around us, but puts it forth through us. . " (CW I :38), Emerson exclaims rhetorically, and he envisions through his Orphic poet Emerson and the Penistence of the Commodity the imminent realization of "the kingdom of man over nature . . a dominion such as now is beyond his dream of God" (CW I :45). For Emerson, in sum, the taint of commodity is transcended by spiritualizingmatter and exchangingit for meaning instead of money.

The centrality of this phrase to Thoreau's undertaking is suggested by its position at the very outset of the book; it appears in the opening sentence: "When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only" (p. 3). Labor of the hands is clearly meant to encompass intellectual as well as manual work.

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