Emerson and the Limits of Language

Idealistic Studies 34 (3):285-302 (2004)

Authors
Andrew Fiala
California State University, Fresno
Abstract
This article focuses on Emerson’s emphasis on the limits of language. This emphasis is important because for Emerson self-expression in language is an essential part of the process of becoming self-reliant. Emerson thus shows us the way in which language often prevents us from becoming self-reliant. Emerson performatively shows the limits of language in an effort to inspire his audience to develop self-reliance in speaking for themselves. The article locates Emerson’s emphasis on the limits of language within the context of nineteenth-century thought. His approach is contrasted with German Idealists such as Fichte and Hegel and Romantic poets such as Wordsworth. Moreover, the article emphasizes similarities between Emerson and Europeans such as Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.
Keywords Continental Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0046-8541
DOI 10.5840/idstudies200434310
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