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The Infinitude of the Private Man

Emerson's Presence in Western New York, 1851-1861

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Sallee Fox Engstrom

Recent scholarship has uncovered much that is significant in the work of the later Emerson, especially in his lectures of the forties and fifties. This book relates Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1851-1861 lecturing in Western New York state to the reform movements and other «enthusiasms» rampant in this region at this time. Engstrom asserts a bond of mutual influence between Emerson and his reform-minded audiences due to the emphasis of both on change and individual potential. A particular influence is seen through portions of an eighteen-year correspondence between Emerson and one Western New York woman with whom he became acquainted in 1850.