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The Reawakening of the American Soul: On the Bicentenary of Emerson’s Birth

The Reawakening of the American Soul  by Richard Geldard

This talk was delivered by Dr. Geldard in Faneuil Hall in Boston as part of the Emerson Bicentennial Celebrations in 2003. Also speaking on that occasion were Jacob Needleman and Robert Thurman. The entire program was recorded by WGBH Webcasts and can be heard on this site by clicking on Resources.

We are met in Emerson’s Bicentennial year, here in Faneuil Hall, a famously public and wholly American building, where just three months ago we met to reflect on Emerson and the Examined Life. In this forum, we broaden our concerns to the precincts of the republic, outward to its place in the world and inward to its very soul. And because we are met in anniversary, I shall, in my introductory remarks, locate our concerns in relation to Emerson’s milestones.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson's house in Concord, MA

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