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EMERSON, Ralph Waldo.

Representative Men:

Seven Lectures.

Boston: Phillips, Sampson and Company, 1850 Stock Code: 109707
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Presentation to Frederic H. Hedge, with his annotations showing close reading

First edition, first printing, presentation copy, inscribed in a secretarial hand on the front free endpaper "Frederic H. Hedge / From the Author." The book shows Hedge's close reading, with marginal pencil lines marking several passages, and a number of manuscript marginalia. A key association: Emerson first met Frederic Henry Hedge (1805-1890) in 1825 while attending Cambridge Divinity School; their friendship endured until Emerson's death. Hedge contributed several important articles to periodicals, especially The Christian Examiner: his first, on Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in 1833 - praised by Emerson as "a living, leaping Logos" - is considered as the first published expression in America of the Kantian idealism which came to be known as Transcendentalism. It was on one of Hedge's frequent trips to Boston from Bangor that the "Transcendentalist Club" first met (1836), and the group was often referred to as "Hedge's Club." Hedge, however, increasingly found himself at odds with the more radical members of the group. When Emerson and Fuller began editing their new magazine in 1840, The Dial, Hedge refused to participate, citing discomfort with many of the ideas being expressed there, although he later contributed some minor items. Nevertheless, Hedge never lost his admiration for Emerson and always sought to do him justice in his reviews of his work.

As probably the leading American expert in German and comparative literature at that time, Hedge's marginal annotations have considerable interest: on page 51 he adds a note about classical authors other than Plato who represent "a step from Asia to Europe". At the head of Emerson's essay on Swedenborg, Hedge notes: "First among the productions of the author this." Occasionally, Hedge marks single words of criticism (e.g. "clumsy"), gives a line in the German original, or makes grammatical corrections. Hedge also shows his colours as the leading American expert on German literature at that time: on page 201 he alters four lines of Emerson's text to give much stronger emphasis to Emerson's acknowledgement of Lessing's importance to German literature by his introduction of Shakespeare in that language.

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Octavo. Original vertical fine-ribbed brown cloth, spine lettered in gilt, boards blocked in blind, cream coated endpapers. Housed in a custom brown morocco-backed slipcase and chemise.


Spine ends worn, rear joint broken, shaken, else a good copy.


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