Ordinary Human Language

by Brian Crane


-Book Cover

Emerson by Lawrence Buell is an excellent entry point into Emerson-studies. I’ve read and enjoyed Emerson’s essays on and off ever since I read “Self-Reliance” in senior English class. Me and my nerd-friends loved his ideas and we loved his words. We memorized (what I now know are) the “greatest hits” from the essay and offered them up to each other in the hallways like apprentice wizards practicing incantations as we filed from lab to lab. Our imaginations were aflame and we felt full of life. Those bits of the essay put that fire into words to live by.

Teaching that same essay this year and reading again through parts of the two essay series in preparation, I’m shocked how much of who I am and how I see the world is shaped be Emerson. And I’m glad. Yet, I also realized, prepping, how little I knew about Emerson outside of these texts. This book was my first step toward filling in some of those blanks. My card file is here.

Posted October 5, 2011