Thursday, July 27, 2017
Ralph Waldo Emerson and a yellow-brick road to Puritans
So, as I announced in a previous posting, I began reading about Ralph Waldo Emerson.
But that led me to reading about Unitarianism.
And then that led me to reading about Harvard Divinity School.
But then I wound up reading about Congregationalism.
Well, of course, the next link backward in the seemingly endless chain was Puritans.
At this point, I've thrown up my hands in frustration. Everything I read sends me backward in time to something else. The antecedents seems endless.
Hey, does something like that ever happen to you? Let's talk about the problem.
Perhaps I should stop now and face up to the fact that I should read more about Puritans, colonial America, and the connections that will eventually take me back to where I had meant to start: Ralph Waldo Emerson. Otherwise, how will I properly understand Emerson's life and environment.
Now, what did this posting signify? Probably not much. But it is, I guess, evidence of the sorry state of my Swiss-cheese mind. Moreover, it demonstrates that I have hit a helluva snag in my previously announced plans to read about Emerson, Hawthorne, Fuller, Alcott, and Thoreau in mid-19th century Concord, Massachusetts.
So what should I do? Well, here is a solution: I will instead follow the advice Dorothy received about where she should begin her journey along the yellow-brick road in The Wizard of Oz: begin, of course, at the beginning.
So, I'm returning to the beginning -- Emerson's New England antecedents -- with the book featured below. I have a feeling that I'm going to be on the yellow-brick road, with its potholes and detours, for quite a while before meeting up again with Emerson et al.