I’m working on a book that revolves around excerpts from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous “Self-Reliance” essay. Each chapter will take a short passage from the essay and examine in terms both personal and philosophical how it applies to our time. I had a hunch–always the best way to start a new book project–and when I went back and read the essay about a year ago I was amazed at how pertinent and sensible so much of what Emerson says in this essay is right now. On one hand, it’s hard to believe that something published in 1841, when a wristwatch was cutting edge technology, could have so much to say about life in the age of Twitter and global networking. On the other hand, human nature never really changes, so maybe it’s not that surprising after all. The book will also be a mini-biography of Emerson (with a dose of Thoreau, the Alcotts, and everyone else up in Concord thrown in) and will draw on Emerson’s letters and journals, too, and possibly even my letters and journals since this essay has been important to me for about 25 years. It’s going to be published by The Free Press in 2013. Hurrah! I’ve also started a new Twitter feed to deliver a little taste of Emerson to followers each day. If you’re interested, just click on Daily Emerson on Twitter in the sidebar page, or find it here.
The book has no title yet, so if reading the above gives you any great ideas, let me know.