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Reflections on Emerson and Non-European Thought

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Russell Goodman
University of New Mexico
United States

Reflections on Emerson and Non-European Thought

In this paper I briefly consider three traditions—Confucian, Hindu, and Islamic—as they appear in Emerson's work, with the aim of showing that in his writing we have not a clash but a blending of civilizations. This blending runs from Emerson’s early lectures on religion, through the major essays, to such late writings as "Persian Poetry," where he celebrates the poetry of Hafiz, Firdousi, and Saadi. I concentrate on some of Emerson's early and middle writings, all composed after he had read at least parts of the Mahabharata, the Analects of Confucius, the Arabian Nights and Arabian Proverbs, and the Laws of Manu.


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