When Ralph Waldo Emerson published his seminal essay on self-reliance in 1841, the United States was still reeling from the effects of a calamitous financial collapse four years earlier. His positive vision for the power of individualism and personal responsibility was issued in a climate of panic and uncertainty, at a time when the values of society and humanity were shifting. Emerson’s text is widely available to read online, but this new edition, produced with Design Observer, elevates his wisdom through the printed word.
The global pandemic of 2020 has reshaped our world as well as our thinking, but Emerson’s call to independence remains as relevant and energizing as ever. Written as the first waves of the virus surged, Jessica Helfand’s twelve accompanying essays address various aspects of artistic engagement – writing, drawing, thinking, making – expanding on the spirit of Emerson’s essay to reimagine the process and practice of what it means to be truly creative.
Presented in a covetable pocket-book format intended to be read, carried, consulted and to inspire throughout our new daily lives, and featuring two marker ribbons for easy reference, this is a timeless book for all places and all seasons.