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The New American Scholar

The New American Scholar book john hansen Oklahoma State University in his essay "Literary Vocation as Occupational Idealism: The Example of Emerson's `American Scholar,'" Rob Wilson compares Ralph Waldo Emerson's scholar with the present literary intellectual in American society. According to Wilson, rather than becoming the intellectual beacon of hope Emerson envisioned, the American (literary) scholar has become trapped in a kind of intellectual bondage by the very act of writing. That is, Wilson believes that the American scholar, because of the effect of Emersonian idealism, has been subjected to repeating Emersonian moral symbols and aesthetic tropes, which has resulted in the alienation of the critic from American society (Wilson 84). However, as will be seen, Wilson's theory of "occupational idealism" is an invalid rhetorical device used to support his belief in dialectical materialism and determinism, whereby the scholar is trapped in a cycle of history and nature causing him to vainly attempt to demystify Emerson's idealistic writings by simply producing more of them. According to Emerson, one of the duties of the American scholar is to look to his inner light and through his rhetorical skills bring a conversion of the world whereby men would be taught the virtue of self-reliance: http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Pluralist University of Illinois Press

The New American Scholar

The Pluralist , Volume 9 (1) – Mar 1, 2014

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1944-6489
Publisher site
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Abstract

book john hansen Oklahoma State University in his essay "Literary Vocation as Occupational Idealism: The Example of Emerson's `American Scholar,'" Rob Wilson compares Ralph Waldo Emerson's scholar with the present literary intellectual in American society. According to Wilson, rather than becoming the intellectual beacon of hope Emerson envisioned, the American (literary) scholar has become trapped in a kind of intellectual bondage by the very act of writing. That is, Wilson believes that the American scholar, because of the effect of Emersonian idealism, has been subjected to repeating Emersonian moral symbols and aesthetic tropes, which has resulted in the alienation of the critic from American society (Wilson 84). However, as will be seen, Wilson's theory of "occupational idealism" is an invalid rhetorical device used to support his belief in dialectical materialism and determinism, whereby the scholar is trapped in a cycle of history and nature causing him to vainly attempt to demystify Emerson's idealistic writings by simply producing more of them. According to Emerson, one of the duties of the American scholar is to look to his inner light and through his rhetorical skills bring a conversion of the world whereby men would be taught the virtue of self-reliance:

Journal

The PluralistUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Mar 1, 2014

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