Eastern past, Western present, and back again: Emerson, Thoreau, and Eastern philosophy
Crowley, Jonathan M.
MetadataShow full item record
The article discusses the manner in which various Eastern spiritual texts affected the complexion of thought and word for both Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Previous works of criticism on the matter are discussed setting a foundation for further inquiry through the ideas of such writers as Stanley Cavell, Arthur Christy, Arthur Versluis, and others. The essay further explores Emerson and Thoreau's relationship to Eastern philosophy by engaging directly in chronological order with selected texts of Emerson first, and Thoreau afterward. A sample of certain Eastern works that are either directly or indirectly involved with Emerson and Thoreau are then introduced and their particular connections with the personal philosophies of the two authors explored. Among these texts are the Hindu classics the Rig Veda and Bhagavad Gita, as well as the Gulistan of Saadi, and the Tao Te Ching.