Ralph Waldo EMERSON

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Item#: 127116 price:$2,800.00



EMERSON, Ralph Waldo, editor. Parnassus. Boston: James R. Osgood, 1875. Octavo, original gilt-stamped cloth rebacked with original spine laid down, top edge gilt. $2800.

First edition of this collection of poetry chosen by Emerson, presented by him to Elizabeth Hoar, his brother's former fiancé and Emerson's effective sister-in-law: "Elizabeth Hoar— with affectionate regards of R. W. E., Dec. 20, `74."

Parnassus is an anthology compiled by Emerson of those poems to which he was most attached: "This volume took its origin from an old habit of copying any poem or lines that interested me into a blank book. In many years, my selections filled the volume, and required another; and still the convenience of commanding all my favorites in one album, instead of searching my own and other libraries for a desired song or verse, and the belief that what charmed me probably might charm others, suggested the printing of my enlarged selection" (preface). The recipient of this copy, Elizabeth Hoar, had been engaged to Emerson's brother Charles Chauncy Emerson in the 1830s, when both were in their twenties. Tragically, Charles died of tuberculosis in 1836 before they had a chance to marry, but the Emerson family always considered her their effective sister-in-law—Emerson sometimes signed letters to her as "Your Brother"—and maintained very close relations with her. A native of Concord and classmate of Thoreau's, Hoar was an intellectual in her own right, and was involved in the production of The Dial, the journal of the Transcendentalists. Emerson respected her intellect and her opinion. In a letter from November 23, 1839 he wrote to her: "Where is my letter to which I give you fair challenge? You are a sovereign woman & shall do as you choose, but in some hour of benevolence, you may remember those who are bound in the bonds of analyzing the Age. I do not wish to know the opinions of celeb[ra]ted reformers or celebrated conversers, or indeed of celebrated leaders of either sex. They are all officers & through their lips I hear always Mr Million speak. But you are queen of yourself & in your privacy & detachment possess a superiority to which we must all defer. Always I gladly hear what you say as the sentence of an intelligent umpire, and, so pedantic are my habits, should gladlier read what you write." Later gift inscription.

Spine worn with some early restoration, cloth toned.

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