The Ice Harp

The Ice Harp

by Norman Lock
The Ice Harp

The Ice Harp

by Norman Lock


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Ralph Waldo Emerson battles dementia while debating whether to intercede in a Black soldier’s unjust arrest

In 1879, toward the end of his life, the Sage of Concord has lost his words. Beset by aphasia and grief, Ralph Waldo Emerson is scarcely recognizable as America’s foremost essayist and orator. To the dismay of his wife, he frequently entertains the specters of his fellow transcendentalists, including Whitman, Thoreau, John Muir, and Margaret Fuller, and frets about the future of humankind and the natural world. Does the present displace the past? Do ideas always precede actions? What responsibility does each of us bear for the downtrodden, the preservation of liberty, and the Earth itself? These metaphysical concerns become concrete when Emerson meets a Black soldier accused of killing a white man who abused him. The soldier’s presence demands a response from Emerson, an action outside the parlors of philosophy and beyond the realm where language and logic hold sway.

The Ice Harp, the tenth stand-alone book in The American Novels series, is a poignant portrayal of a literary luminary coming to terms with the loss of memory, the cost of inaction, and the end of life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781954276178
Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press
Publication date: 07/04/2023
Series: The American Novels
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Norman Lock is the award-winning author of novels, short fiction, and poetry, as well as stage and radio plays. He has won The Dactyl Foundation Literary Fiction Award, The Paris Review Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, and has been longlisted twice for the Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Prize. He has also received writing fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Aberdeen, New Jersey, where he is at work on the next books of The American Novels series.

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