Ronald A. Bosco

Ronald A. Bosco

Distinguished Professor of English and American Literature, Distinguished Service Professor, Collins Fellow, Grand Marshal of the University
Department of English


Humanities 323

PhD English and American Literature, University of Maryland, 1975
MA, Philosophy: Value Theory, Purdue University, 1970
AB, Philosophy, Fairfield University, 1967

Ronald Bosco

Areas of Specialization: Colonial and Early-National American Intellectual and Literary History, emphasizing Puritan Poetics and Homiletics; New England Transcendentalism, emphasizing Emerson and Thoreau; Pedagogy; Theory and Practice of Documentary and Textual Editing.

Academic Career

Distinguished Professor and Distinguished Service Professor, ranks conferred by the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York in 2004 and 1992, respectively; Professor (1985); Associate Professor (1979); Assistant Professor (1975), University at Albany, SUNY.

General Editor, The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harvard University Press, since 2003; Editor, Emerson Family Papers, Houghton Library of Harvard University, since 1977.

Selected Honors and Awards

Doctorate, Honoris Causa, Soka University, Tokyo, Japan, 2006; The Thoreau Society Medal, 2004; Lyman H. Butterfield Award, Association for Documentary Editing, 2003; Ralph Waldo Emerson Society Distinguished Achievement Award, 2002; Corresponding Member, Massachusetts Historical Society, elected 2001; Collins Fellow, University at Albany designation, conferred 1999; Boydston Essay Prize, Association for Documentary Editing, 1999, for “The Expanding Textual Circle of New England Transcendentalism” in TEXT: Transactions of the Society for Textual Scholarship, 11 (1998)

Selected Professional Service

Co-Editor, Documentary Editing, the annual journal of the Association for Documentary Editing, 2009-; President, The Association for Documentary Editing (ADE), elected 2006-07, Program Chair, ADE Annual Meeting, Quincy, MA, 2006, and ADE Councilor-at-Large, elected 2002-05; President, The Thoreau Society, elected 2000-04; Co-Chair with Joel Myerson, “Emerson in 2003: The Bicentenary Celebration,” sponsored by the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association, Houghton Library of Harvard University, Massachusetts Historical Society, et al, 2003; President, Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, elected 1996-97, and Secretary/Treasurer, elected 2000-01

Selected University and Department Service

GSS Doctoral Review Panel, University at Albany, 2009; Chancellor’s Distinguished Professorship Advisory Council, SUNY-System Administration, 2006-09; Chair, Distinguished Service Professor and Distinguished Teaching Professor Selection Committee, University at Albany, 1999-2007; Director of Graduate Studies, Department of English, interim 2002, 2000; Chair, President’s Task Force on Commencement, 2000-01; Chair, University Council on Educational Policy, 1999-2001; Middle States Accreditation Steering Committee, and Chair, Committee on Mission, Institutional Goals, and Integrity, 1998-2000; Arts and Sciences Faculty Representative, University Strategic Planning Committee, and Chair, Graduate Committee, 1996-98; Chair, Department of English, elected 1995; Chair, University Council on Promotion and Continuing Appointment, 1991-94; Co-Chair with Frank J. Thompson, Task Force on the University Mission, 1991-92; Chair, University Senate, elected 1989-90, 1983-84; Faculty Coordinator and Member, Presidential Search, Advisory and Screening Committees, 1989-90; Chair, University Academic Program Review Committee, 1988-89


Selected Publications 

Documentary Editing 2010. Editor (with Richard Leffler). Madison, WI: The Association for Documentary Editing, 2010. 

Letters and Social Aims (1876) in The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Editor (with Glen M. Johnson and Joel Myerson). Vol. 8 of 10-vol. series. Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Cambridge and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Documentary Volume. Editor (with Joel Myerson). Dictionary of Literary Biography No. 351. Detroit: Bruccoli Clark Layman for Gale, 2010. 

Creating Waldens: An East-West Conversation on the American Renaissance. Cambridge, MA: Boston Research Center for the 21st Century, 2009. With Daisaku Ikeda and Joel Myerson. 

Hawthorne in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by His Family, Friends, and Associates. Editor (with Jillmarie Murphy). Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2007.

Society and Solitude (1870) in The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Editor (with Douglas Emory Wilson). Vol. 7 of 10-vol. series. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 2007.

The Emerson Brothers: A Fraternal Biography in Letters. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. With Joel Myerson.

Emerson Bicentennial Essays. Editor (with Joel Myerson). Massachusetts Historical Society Studies in American History and Culture, No. 10. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society for distribution by the University of Virginia Press, 2006.

The Selected Lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1833-1871. Editor (with Joel Myerson). Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2005.

Nature’s Panorama: Thoreau on the Seasons. Editor. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2005. With a Foreword by Robert D. Richardson, Jr. and original engravings by Barry Moser.

Emerson in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by His Family, Friends, and Associates. Editor (with Joel Myerson). Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2003.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Bicentennial Exhibition at Houghton Library of the Harvard College Library, 26 March to 7 June 2003. Co-author of the catalogue and co-curator of the exhibition (with Joel Myerson). Cambridge: Houghton Library of the Harvard College Library, 2003; rpt. 2005.

The Illuminated Walden: In the Footsteps of Thoreau. Editor. New York: Friedman/Fairfax, 2002; rpt. 2003. With a Foreword by Don Henley and original photographic art by John Wawrzonek.

The Later Lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1843-1871. Editor (with Joel Myerson). 2 vols. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001.

“His Lectures Were Poetry, His Teaching the Music of the Spheres”: Annie Adams Fields and Francis Greenwood Peabody on Emerson’s Natural History of the Intellect University Lectures at Harvard in 1870Harvard Library Bulletin, Special Issue, n.s. 8 (Summer 1997).

The Topical Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Editor. Vol. 2 of 3-vol. series. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 1993.

The Complete Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Editor. Vol. 3 of 4-vol. series. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 1991. 

The Poems of Michael Wigglesworth. Editor. Lanham, Md., New York, and London: University Press of America, 1989.

The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1866-1882. Editor (with Glen M. Johnson). Vol. 16 of 16-vol. series. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1982. 

Paterna: The Autobiography of Cotton Mather. Editor. New York: Scholars’ Facsimiles & Reprints, Inc., 1976; second printing, 1978. Sealed, MLA Center for Editions of American Authors. 

Selected Presentations since 2003 

“Extending the Legacy: Emerson’s Editors and Readers in the Twenty-First Century” (with Joel Myerson), for the Emerson Society, American Literature Association Conference, San Francisco, invited for May 2010.

“Literary Concord Performs: From Tourism to Pilgrimage in ‘The Most Famous Little Town in America’” (with Joel Myerson), Nineteenth Century Studies Association Conference on Theatricality and the Performative, Tampa, FL, March 2010. 

“Emerson, Marsh, and Thoreau Imagining the Unimaginable: the Emergence of an ‘Anti-Landscape’ Consciousness in Nineteenth-Century America,” for Counter
Nature(s): An Interdisciplinary Research Symposium on Revising Nature in an Era of Environmental Crisis, Uppsala University, Sweden, November 2009.

“‘Nothing Small in Nature’: Prophetic and Real Anti-landscapes in George P. Marsh’s Man and Nature(1864),” Nordic Association for American Studies Conference, University of Copenhagen, May 2009.

“‘Making a World’: Thoreau on Books and Reading” (with Joel Myerson), “Thoreauvian 
Modernities,” An International Symposium, Université de Lyon, École Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines, May 2009.

“‘Every Speaker Speaks to His Best Listener’: Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Charisma,” public lecture sponsored by the University of Würzburg Graduate School of Humanities and Department of American Studies, Würzburg, Germany, February 2009.

“Editing Ralph Waldo Emerson and Jean Paul Workshop” (with Helmut Pfotenhauer), emphasizing theories of copy-text, presented to faculty and students, University of Würzburg, Germany, January 2009.

“Concord’s Idealistic Hawk: Emerson’s Advocacy of ‘the Benefits of . . . War’,” for the Emerson Society, the American Literature Association Conference, San Francisco, May 2008.

“Emerson’s Theory of and Practice in the (Un)Natural World,” Seminar: Nature Representation and the Geo-Environmental Development of the USA, European Association of American Studies Conference, Oslo, Norway, May 2008.

Americanist Research Colloquium: Emersonian Transcendentalism (with Joel Myerson, Barbara L. Packer, and Thomas Wortham), UCLA, November 2007.

“Opening the Book on the Emerson Brothers: From Selected Edition to Intellectual Biography” (with Joel Myerson), Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, July 2007. 

“Emerson Family Lives” (with Joel Myerson), public lecture, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, May 2007.

“‘The Invisible Bonds of Life’ Made Visible: Lyricism and Urgency in the Poetry of Daisaku Ikeda,” public lecture for the opening of “Daisaku Ikeda: The World of the Poetic Mind” Poet Laureate exhibition, Takamatsu (Shikoku), Japan, June 2006.

“Cabinets of Curiosity at First Sight: Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Day in the Jardin des Plantes, Paris, in 1833 and the Origins of American Transcendentalism,” A Cabinet of Curiosities: Objectifying the Human from the Renaissance to the 21st Century Seminar, American Comparative Literature Association, Princeton University, March 2006. 

Distinguished Professor Lecture: “‘Where’s Waldo?’: My First Thirty Years in Pursuit of the Elusive Emerson,” University at Albany, November 2005.

“An American in Paris and at Home: Emerson’s Journeys to Europe and Europeans’ Journeys to Emerson,” two lectures invited by the Concord Historical Collaborative and the Emerson family at “Bush,” Emerson’s home, Concord, MA, October 2005.

Walter Harding Distinguished Memorial Lecture: “‘I came near awaking this morning’: The Days of Emerson and Thoreau at Walden,” State University of New York at Geneseo, September 2005.

“Emerson, Thoreau, and the Rites of Dissent,” Nordic Association for American Studies Conference, University of Växjö, Sweden, May 2005.

“‘Travelling into a Far Country’: Henry Thoreau’s One Night in the Concord Jail and Its Global Legacy of Non-violent Dissent,” public lecture at the Gandhi, King, Ikeda: A Legacy of Building Peace Exhibition, Yale University, February 2005.

“Higher Seminar” Presenter: “Emerson’s Theory of Biography and the Problem of His Own,” for the faculties of English, Literature, and the Humanities, University of Stockholm, Sweden, November 2004. 

Keynote Address: “The Many Waldens of Emerson and Thoreau,” North American Institute for American Studies Symposium on . . . the 150th Anniversary of the Publication of Walden, University of Uppsala, Sweden, November 2004.

“From Walden to ‘the West’: Thoreau’s Spiritual and Savage Journeys,” address to the Minneapolis Athenaeum and University of Minnesota Department of English, May 2004.

Keynote Address: “In Search of the ‘Higher Laws’: Politics and the Personal in Thoreau’s Constructions of Self,” Conference on “Identity Politics and the Politics of Identity,” University of South Carolina, Columbia, March 2004. 

Plenary Address: “Building New Worlds: Henry David Thoreau’s Seasonal Constructions of Self,” Literature and the Arts: the 29th International Conference of the Russian Society of American Culture Studies, Moscow State University, December 2003.

“‘The Tendencies and Duties of Men of Thought’ and ‘The Transcendency of Physics’: Ethics and Science in the Later Emerson,” Emerson Bicentennial International Conference, University of Rome, Italy, October 2003.

Dana S. Brigham Memorial Lecture: “The Making of The Illuminated Walden” (with John Wawrzonek), Thoreau Society Annual Gathering, Concord, MA, July 2003. 

Emerson Family Address: “‘What Poems are Many Private Lives’: Ralph Waldo Emerson at 200,” address for the Emerson Family and the Town of Concord on Emerson’s 200th birthday, at “Bush,” Emerson’s home, Concord, MA, May 2003.