A Concordance to the Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson
Professor Eugene Irey's retirement project, and his dream, was to produce a
concordance to the entire works of Emerson. Gene started producing it by
hand; he was not satisfied with the functionality of computer-generated
concordances. In particular, he insisted that the context for each word
be adequate to show how Emerson used that word. Computer concordances
typically include a fixed amount of text around each word, or
the sentence or line in which the word appears, not always sufficient to identify
clearly how the word is used. Gene also wanted to assign the proper part
of speech to every word, a difficult task for a computer.
The Center for Computer Research in the Humanities (CCRH) developed
software to help Gene make the concordance. This software interactively
displayed each word in the text, with a substantial amount of context.
Gene edited the context and assigned the part of speech to each word. The
computer then sorted and formatted the concordance.
Gene did this work in the 1970s and early 1980s. He completed the editing
of the concordance, but was struck down by a heart attack in 1986 before
he could finish proofing the work. Gene had discovered that, when he
edited the occurrence of a word near the beginning of the text and then,
years later, edited another occurrence of the same word near the end of the
text, he had not been exactly consistent in the way that he treated the
words. He was also proofreading for typographical errors, etc.
Since 1986, CCRH has not had the resources to complete Gene's work.
Nevertheless, it is important to make this remarkable work available to
Emerson researchers. The staggering amount of work put into the project
makes this work unique; computer-generated concordances still pale in
The size of the Emerson concordance is daunting. Even formatted in two
columns, the concordance occupies 5,372 pages. A list of the
words in the concordance, with their frequencies, formatted in three
columns, occupies another 139 pages. The concordance is broken down into
letter sections; each letter begins a new page.
The following is a sample page of the Emerson Concordance. The entire concordance is available as PDF and Postscript files below. The formatting is similar to what you see here.
A, n. (1)
Comc 8.168 8 That letter is A, said the teacher; A, drawled the boy.
a priori. (1)
MMEm 10.431 18 While I [Mary Moody Emerson] am sympathizing in the government of God over the world, perhaps I lose nearer views. Well, I learned his existence a priori.
a priori, adj. (1)
Let 12.393 8 ...when our correspondent proceeds to flying-machines, we...must speak on a priori grounds.
Aaron, n. (1)
Cir 2.315 8 Geoffrey draws on his boots to go through the woods, that his feet may be safer from the bite of snakes; Aaron never thinks of such a peril.
abandon, v. (3)
MoS 4.182 24 [The wise and magninimous] will exult in [the spiritualist's] far-sighted good-will that can abandon to the adversary all the ground of tradition and common belief...
Elo2 8.124 11 ...in your struggles with the world...when even your country may seem ready to abandon herself and you...seek refuge...in the precepts and example of Him whose law is love...
LS 11.19 19 This mode of commemorating Christ [the Lord's Supper] is not suitable to me. That is reason enough why I should abandon it.
abandoned, v. (8)
MN 1.215 8 To every reform...early disgusts are incident...so that [the disciple]...meditates to cast himself into the arms of that society and manner of life which he had newly abandoned...
Nat2 3.185 27 The child...abandoned to a whistle or a painted chip...lies down at night overpowered by the fatigue which this day of continual pretty madness has incurred.
SwM 4.145 26 ...ascending by just degrees from events to their summits and causes, [Swedenborg] was fired with piety at the harmonies he felt, and abandoned himself to his joy and worship.
ET14 5.235 6 The [English] children and laborers use the Saxon unmixed. The Latin unmixed is abandoned to the colleges and Parliament.
Imtl 8.351 6 Yama said [to Nachiketas], One thing is good, another is pleasant. Blessed is he who takes the good, but he who chooses the pleasant loses the object of man. But thou, considering the objects of desire, hast abandoned them.
Thor 10.458 6 As soon as [Thoreau] had exhausted the advantages of that solitude [at Walden Pond], he abandoned it.
LVB 11.90 17 ...notwithstanding the unaccountable apathy with which of late years the Indians have been sometimes abandoned to their enemies, it is not to be doubted that it is the good pleasure and the understanding of all humane persons in the Republic...that they shall be duly cared for;...
MAng1 12.233 1 The things proposed to [Michelangelo] in his imagination were such that, for not being able with his hands to express so grand and terrible conceptions, he often abandoned his work.
abandonment, n. (15)
MN 1.217 3 Never self-possessed or prudent, [Love] is all abandonment.
SL 2.141 27 It is the vice of our public speaking that it has not abandonment.
Cir 2.321 27 The way of life is...by abandonment.
Pt1 3.26 21 ...beyond the energy of his possessed and conscious intellect [every intellectual man] is capable of a new energy...by abandonment to the nature of things;...
PPh 4.57 14 In [Plato] the freest abandonment is united with the precision of a geometer.
ET18 5.303 13 In the island [England]...there is...no abandonment or ecstasy of will or intellect...
Art2 7.49 23 In eloquence, the great triumphs of the art are...when consciously [the orator] makes himself the mere tongue of the occasion and the hour, and says what cannot but be said. Hence the term abandonment, to describe the self-surrender of the orator.
WD 7.181 10 There can be no greatness without abandonment.
PPo 8.260 23 ...we have [in Hafiz's poetry] all degrees of passionate abandonment...
Imtl 8.349 5 It is curious to find the selfsame feeling, that it is...not duration, but a state of abandonment to the Highest, and so the sharing of His perfection,-+-appearing in the farthest east and west.
Prch 10.217 4 In the history of opinion, the pinch of falsehood shows itself first...in insincerity, indifference and abandonment of the Church...
Prch 10.218 19 ...that religious submission and abandonment which give man a new element and being...it is not in churches, it is not in houses.
MMEm 10.417 11 ...[Mary Moody Emerson] could hardly promise herself sympathy in her religious abandonment with any but a rarely-found partner.
FRep 11.532 8 See how fast [our people] extend the fleeting fabric of their trade...with the same abandonment to the moment and the facts of the hour as the Esquimau who sells his bed in the morning.
EurB 12.376 27 ...a perception of beauty was the equally indispensable element of the association [society in Wilhelm Meister], by which each was dignified and all were dignified; then each was to obey his genius to the length of abandonment.
abandonments, n. (1)
Elo1 7.80 13 ...among our cool and calculating people...where heats and panics and abandonments are quite out of the system, there is a good deal of skepticism as to extraordinary influence.
abandons, v. (4)
OS 2.276 7 ...the heart which abandons itself to the Supreme Mind finds itself related to all its works...
Cir 2.319 15 Infancy, youth, receptive, aspiring...abandons itself to the instruction flowing from all sides.
Aris 10.64 2 ...shame to the fop of learning and philosophy...who abandons his right position of being priest and poet of these impious and unpoetic doers of God's work.
WSL 12.348 16 [Landor] is too wilful, and never abandons himself to his genius.
abate, v. (6)
Nat 1.50 2 [Grace and expression]...abate somewhat of the angular distinctness of objects.
SL 2.131 21 Neither vexations nor calamities abate our trust.
NER 3.280 17 The wise Dandamis, on hearing the lives of Socrates, Pythagoras and Diogenes read, judged them to be great men every way, excepting that they were too much subjected to the reverence of the laws, which to second and authorize, true virtue must abate very much of its original vigor.
Wth 6.105 5 In Europe, crime is observed to increase or abate with the price of bread.
Chr2 10.103 16 ...the acts which [the moral sentiment] suggests-+-as when it...sets [a man] on...some zeal to unite men to abate some nuisance...are the homage we render to this sentiment...
FSLC 11.186 3 [The devil] was never known to abate a penny of his rents.
abated, v. (3)
Pol1 3.200 26 Nature...will not be fooled or abated of any jot of her authority by the pertest of her sons;...
Insp 8.291 15 ...the wise student will remember the prudence of Sir Tristram in Morte d' Arthur, who...took care to fight in the hours when his strength increased; since from noon to night his strength abated.
EzRy 10.389 7 [Ezra Ripley's] partiality for ladies...was by no means abated by time.
abatement, n. (4)
ET9 5.151 10 ...whenever an abatement of their power is felt, [the English] have not conciliated the affection on which to rely.
PI 8.16 20 Mountains and oceans we think we understand;--yes, so long as they are contented to be such, and are safe with the geologist,--but when they are melted in Promethean alembics and come out men, and then, melted again, come out words, without any abatement, but with an exaltation of power!
Milt1 12.247 12 ...the new-found book having in itself less attraction than any other work of Milton, the curiosity of the public as quickly subsided, and left the poet to the enjoyment of his permanent fame, or to such increase or abatement of it as is incidental to a sublime genius...
Milt1 12.279 11 ...are not all men fortified by the remembrance of...the angelic devotion of this man [Milton], who,...endeavored...to carry out the life of man to new heights of spiritual grace and dignity, without any abatement of its strength?
abbe, n. (1)
MN 1.202 7 When we...shorten the sight to look into this court of Louis Quatorze, and see the game that is played there,-+-duke and marshal, abbe and madame...one can hardly help asking...whether it be quite worth while to...glut the innocent space with so poor an article.
Abbe, n. (1)
LLNE 10.363 12 [Charles Newcomb] was the Abbe or spiritual father [of Brook Farm], from his religious bias.
abbess, n. (3)
Wsp 6.227 26 Among the nuns in a convent not far from Rome, one had appeared who laid claim to certain rare gifts of inspiration and prophecy, and the abbess advised the Holy Father of the wonderful powers shown by her novice.
Wsp 6.228 8 [St. Philip Neri] told the abbess the wishes of his Holiness...
CInt 12.125 20 Piety in a convent accuses every one, from the novice to the abbess.
Abbey, Fonthill, England, n (1)
ET10 5.165 14 Strawberry Hill of Horace Walpole, Fonthill Abbey of Mr. Beckford, were freaks;...
Abbey, Fountains, England, (1)
ET13 5.215 25 The power of the religious sentiment [in England]...created the religious architecture...Fountains Abbey, Ripon, Beverley and Dundee...
The Concordance Files
The table below lists the files that make up the concordance. The concordance is presented as PDF files and as Postscript files compressed by the WinZip utility. You may view and print the the PDF files using Adobe's free Acrobat Reader, or decompress the Postscript files and send them to a Postscript printer. The Zip files are self-extracting archives; if you download and open these files, they will extract the compressed files even if you don't have the Zip utility on your machine. The concordance file contains bookmarks to locate each letter in the concordance.
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