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The Philadelphia InquirerAs Sacks shows, in his public lectures Emerson took pains not to seem too controversial. . . . But standing before a closed circuit of his intellectual peers, he came out foursquare for a notion of scholarship that, for all its influence on American writers, transcended not only national but also institutional boundaries. . . . Sacks is a classical historian and is very good at showing how well Emerson's mastery of classical rhetoric served him in this address. . . . Reading Emerson's speech today, his turns of phrase may strike us as rather demure, but to his auditors they were fighting words.
— Frank Wilson