ABSTRACT

In many ways his most personal work to date, Robert D. Richardson’s latest, posthumously published biography, Three Roads Back: How Emerson, Thoreau, and William James Responded to the Greatest Losses of Their Lives, charts the formation of his three subjects’ literary and philosophical identities through the personal tragedies that ended up working as catalysts for some of their biggest intellectual and creative achievements. A valuable work of biography and intellectual history in its own right, Richardson’s final book equally serves as a valediction on a celebrated scholar’s lifelong commitment to writing about the minds of some of America’s greatest, foundational thinkers.

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