Humanities and Arts

Contact Information

Salisbury Laboratories, 236
Phone: +1-508-831-5441
Fax: +1-508-831-5932

Wesley T. Mott

Professor Wesley Mott has published several books on 19th-century American literature--especially New England transcendentalism--including The Strains of Eloquence: Emerson and His Sermons, Volume 4 in The Complete Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and a variety of reference books. His articles have appeared in such journals as American Literature, New England Quarterly, Notes & Queries, Phylon, Resources for American Literary Study, and Studies in the American Renaissance. A member of the editorial boards of The Concord Saunterer: A Journal of Thoreau Studies and the Thoreau Society Bulletin, Professor Mott has also published essays in popular media on history, energy conservation, and the Beatles.

In 1989, Professor Mott organized the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society. He served as the society’s first secretary for 10 years and for 20 years published Emerson Society Papers at WPI. President during the 2003 international bicentennial celebration of Emerson’s birth, Professor Mott was also coinitiator of the 2006 conference “Transatlanticism in American Literature”--cosponsored by the Emerson, Hawthorne, and Poe societies--at the University of Oxford. He was elected president again for 2010-2011 and helped plan the second international American literature conference, held in Florence, Italy, in 2012.

Professor Mott particularly enjoys WPI’s opportunities to blend teaching, scholarship, and professional and public service on the writers who matter most to him. He sometimes teaches Emerson and Thoreau in his wide range of literature courses. More uniquely, with WPI’s proximity to Concord and project-rich curriculum, he advises IQPs and ISPs on their historical and contemporary importance. An advisory board member of the Walden Woods Project--founded by recording artist Don Henley--and an advisor to WPI’s coed service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, he has also coordinated valuable and exciting student volunteer projects at fundraising walks, press conferences, and a major rock concert to benefit the campaign to preserve threatened tracts of historic “Thoreau country.”

Research Interests

  • American Literary History (particularly Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry D. Thoreau)


  • AB, Boston University, 1968
  • AM, Boston University, 1969
  • PhD, Boston University, 1974

Featured Publications

  • Editor, Volume 9, Journal: 1854-1855, in The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press (forthcoming).
  • “‘America’s Intellectual Morning’: or, How the Transcendentalists Founded Boston University,” Resources for American Literary Study. An Annual. Vol. 35. New York: AMS Press, 2012.
  • “Education,” Chapter 11 in The Handbook of Transcendentalism. Ed. Joel Myerson, Sandra H. Petrulionis, and Laura Dassow Walls. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. pp. 153-71.
  • “A Tale of Three Cities: Emerson, Louis-Philippe, and Transatlantic Uses of Great Men,” Emerson for the Twenty-First Century: Global Perspectives on an American Icon. Ed. Barry Tharaud. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2010. Pp. 93-106.
  • "'The Power of Recurring to the Sublime at Pleasure': Emerson and Feeling," Emerson Bicentennial Essays. Ed. Ronald A. Bosco and Joel Myerson. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2006. Pp. 367-90.

View a Complete List (.pdf, 116kb)

Professional Highlights

  • Thoreau Society’s Walter Harding Distinguished Service Award, 2004
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson Society Distinguished Achievement Award, 1999
  • WPI Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Scholarship, 1993
  • Advisory Boards of Louisa May Alcott Society, Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, Thoreau Society, Save Our Heritage, Walden Woods Project, and Alumni Association of Boston University
  • Organizer, Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, in 1989
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