July 2, 2003
Illuminating Emerson’s spiritual development
The Spiritual Emerson: Essential Writings
by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edited by David M. Robinson
Beacon, 288 pp., $25
By Richard Higgins
Even now, as we mark the 200th anniversary of his birth, people still believe that Ralph Waldo Emerson left the ministry in 1832. He resigned the pastorate of the Second Church of Boston, yes, but as Elizabeth Palmer Peabody and others have noted, he took the pulpit with him and carted it around for 40 years. Emerson could no more have stopped being a minister than he could have stopped being Emerson.