The Concord Quartet: Alcott, Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau and the Friendship That Freed the American Mind

The Concord Quartet Alcott Emerson Hawthorne Thoreau and the Friendship That Freed the American Mind We will walk on our own feet we will work with our own hands we will speak our own minds Ralph Waldo Emerson The American Scholar From the start of transcendentalism and America s intellectual r

  • Title: The Concord Quartet: Alcott, Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau and the Friendship That Freed the American Mind
  • Author: Samuel A. Schreiner Jr.
  • ISBN: 9780471646631
  • Page: 369
  • Format: Hardcover
  • We will walk on our own feet we will work with our own hands we will speak our own minds Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar, 1837From the start of transcendentalism and America s intellectual renaissance in the 1830s, to the Civil War and beyond, the story of four extraordinary friends whose lives shaped a nation Beginning in the 1830s, coincidences that seemWe will walk on our own feet we will work with our own hands we will speak our own minds Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar, 1837From the start of transcendentalism and America s intellectual renaissance in the 1830s, to the Civil War and beyond, the story of four extraordinary friends whose lives shaped a nation Beginning in the 1830s, coincidences that seem almost miraculous in retrospect brought together in Concord as friends and neighbors four men of very different temperaments and talents who shared the same conviction that the soul had inherent power to grasp the truth and that the truth would make men free of old constraints on thought and behavior In addition to Emerson, a philosopher, there was Amos Bronson Alcott, an educator Henry David Thoreau, a naturalist and rebel and Nathaniel Hawthorne, a novelist This book is the story of that unique and influential friendship in action, of the lives the friends led, and their work that resulted in an enduring change in their nation s direction From the Prologue

    One thought on “The Concord Quartet: Alcott, Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau and the Friendship That Freed the American Mind”

    1. A book attempting to combine the biographies of the New England writers Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Bronson Alcott is an ambitious undertaking involving penetrating research and a careful orgznization of the material. It's such a fascinating subject that one wonders why it hasn't been written before. Unfortunately, Schreiner manages to make it all uninteresting. It may be that it lacks a focus on some common thread other than the fact of their living in Concord by which to see these people [...]

    2. Set from 1834 to 1888 in Concord, Massachusetts, four of America's leading intellectuals -- Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne were successful American writers. Unfortunately the last, Amos Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May Alcott) was cut from a different cloth. To some he was respected as an educational reformer, speaker and teacher. I found this short book lacking any depth to events in their personal lives. It did briefly highlight events commonly known and overall, I found the narrative very dr [...]

    3. This is a very short book, and it just give an overview of the men and time period for Transcendentalism.I believe it serves its purpose and is well written. I learned several things that I did not know before, and was able to read the book fairly quickly.Enjoyable and informative.

    4. There are certain topics which are guilty pleasures for me and I'll read pretty much anything written about them. The Cambridge spies. The miners' strike. Nuns. And the completely loopy goings on of Bronson Alcott, the whole Concord setup. Somewhat pedestrian writing but a solid account which cannot help but err on the side of hilarity.

    5. Schreiner attempts to recapture a seminal moment in the history of American ideas. For a few decades in the nineteenth century, the intellectual and cultural center of fledgling United States was twenty miles outside Boston in the town of Concord, Massachusetts. Politically, the young nation was prodigious – putting into practice ideas only flirted with in Europe. But in terms of intellectual culture, America was generally regarded as a backwoods place in comparison to the capitals of Western [...]

    6. Samuel Schreiner's The Concord Quartet is a brief portrait of the group of early 19th Century Transcendentalist writers and academics who called Concord, Massachusetts, home during the period of the "American Renaissance" in arts and letters. The book focuses on four major figures: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Amos Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Schreiner weaves together the individual stories of these four friends and neighbors to produce an interesting look at the intell [...]

    7. For a lay reader like me, who studied biology in college and skipped any humanities course that might have required reading up on 19th century literature and history, The Concord Quartet provides a brilliant--and highly entertaining--introduction to some of the most important authors and ideas of the day. What I love about this book is Schreiner's ability to humanize iconic figures, making it clear that these were men who struggled, just like us, to find a way to juggle making a living with maki [...]

    8. An interesting account of the confluence of four great thinkers and/or writers in one small Massachusetts town. (Note that the Alcott in the title is actually Bronson Alcott, not Louisa May.) Perhaps what I liked most about the book is how we come to realize that two great revolutions began in Concord: the first, of course, the American Revolution in 1775 with the "shot that heard round the world"; the second was a revolution of ideas with the rise of transcendentalism in the mid-nineteenth cent [...]

    9. Schreiner's story indicated by the title is a bit more heroic than the personages involved, although of the four men profiled, Thoreau comes out as the most heroic and sacrificing of them all - not Emerson. While there is a good bit of material on the women who compose the Transcendentalist circles, they are, with the exception of Abba Alcott, not lionized. Read this to learn more of the personalities involved, but do not settle for the easy story. Dig into what Schreiner relates and read more o [...]

    10. "'The highest revelation is that God is in every man.'" (quoting Emerson, 27)"'A half day of liberty like that was like the promise of life eternal.'" (quoting Thoreau, 60)"'There is no remedy for love but to love more.'" (quoting Thoreau, 72)"[Emerson's Essays] were not logical arguments for any point of view but compendiums of thoughts, observations, life experiences, and quotations from other thinkers that were drawn together to the theme like scattered iron filings to a magnet." (88)"'To be [...]

    11. I gave this a four-star mostly because I'm fascinated with these men and place, indeed, what happens when artists and intellectuals and spiritual people come together in a certain geographic place. There was much to enjoy and learn in here, but I would have preferred a little heavier author's hand that worked to tell stories more fully and tie them together. Schreiner uses a lot of their own words, which is nice in some ways. However, some is older style writing, running on for pages occasionall [...]

    12. The quick read gave a nice insight to the relationship between Bronson Alcott, Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry Thoreau and Concord. It was interesting to learn who their contemporaries were through their meetings and conversations. I was somewhat surprised to find how influential to their meetings certain women were. If you're interested in these gentlemen but their philosophy is too heady to begin with, begin by reading this book to get to know who they were.

    13. I discovered this book at the House of Seven Gables Museum Shop in Salem, MA, birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne (the city, not the house.) This extremely readable book is highly recommended for any student of American Literature. It helped me remember what the American Transcendentalist movement was all about, bringing to life those who were most involved with the movement through their own dairies and the diaries of others. Totally makes me want to read more of these author’s works; and it’ [...]

    14. The four friendships in the book have a historical or biographical treatment; Schreiner writes this as a collection of their works, quoting their essays and letters at length. He also writes as if he were a biographer and a historian--even if this book is labelled as literary criticism; it should be in the biography section.The fact that the four had a confluence in Concord, MA, is unique. I enjoyed reading it for the anecdotes it provided. But that is as far as this book goes. He does not write [...]

    15. I had great hopes for this book. Alas, I nearly set it aside several times. Schreiner had a wealth of information here (definitely did his research), but it bogged down his attempt to write it as a story, as opposed to a multi-person biography. I found myself losing interest much of the time and even *gasp* skipping ahead pages. American Bloomsbury is a far better read on this unforgettable group of American originals.

    16. Interesting book on the relationships of several luminaries of the mid-nineteenth century. I'm not totally sure that I would say that Hawthorne was much of a friend, but an acquaintance. Definitely worth a read if you are interested in transcendentalism or even the some of the history leading up to the civil war. These men were friends of presidents and wrote and spoke in a way that influenced many Americans.

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