Self-Reliance
Thoughts for a New World

A refreshed and covetable new edition of a timeless text

Self-Reliance Thoughts for a New World from £15.99

Collector’s Edition

• Slipcased book with contrasting materials
• Numbered
• Exclusive to Volume
• Limited to 500 copies

Pre-order £29.99 £23.99

Collector’s Edition

Kensuke Koike Edition

• Image-only cover with bellyband
• Exclusive design only available on Volume
• Limited edition

Pre-order £19.99 £15.99

Kensuke Koike Edition

Yuko Shimizu Edition

• Image-only cover with bellyband
• Exclusive design only available on Volume
• Limited edition

Pre-order £19.99 £15.99

Yuko Shimizu Edition

Maira Kalman Edition

• Image-only cover with bellyband
• Exclusive design only available on Volume
• Limited edition

Pre-order £19.99 £15.99

Maira Kalman Edition

Daniella Zalcman Edition

• Image-only cover with bellyband
• Exclusive design only available on Volume
• Limited edition

Pre-order £19.99 £15.99

Daniella Zalcman Edition

David Adjaye Edition

• Image-only cover with bellyband
• Exclusive design only available on Volume
• Limited edition

Pre-order £19.99 £15.99

David Adjaye Edition

John Maeda Edition

• Image-only cover with bellyband
• Exclusive design only available on Volume
• Limited edition

Pre-order £19.99 £15.99

John Maeda Edition

Overview

When Ralph Waldo Emerson published what is probably his most famous essay in 1841, drawing from a lecture he had given a few years earlier, it was in the aftermath of the calamitous financial collapse of 1837. His positive vision for the power of individualism and personal responsibility was issued in a climate filled with panic and uncertainty and at a time when the values of society and humanity were in the process of being reformed.

It is less than once in a generation that events reshape our world and our thinking, and we are living through such a time. Emerson’s text is widely available to read online, but this new Volume edition, produced with Design Observer, elevates his wisdom through the printed word. It is needed perhaps now more than ever when circumstances, information and connections can vanish before our eyes.

As Emerson wrote in “Self-Reliance”, and which resonates as strongly now, “The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks. See the line from a sufficient distance, and it straightens itself to the average tendency. Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing.”

Editor

Jessica Helfand

Designers

Jarrett Fuller and Jessica Helfand

Genre

Inspiration

Specification

18 x 12 cm/7 x 4.7 in
96 pages
Hardbound
Printed in two Pantone colors
Two marker ribbons

Guest artists

Kensuke Koike
Yuko Shimizu
Maira Kalman
Daniella Zalcman
David Adjaye
John Maeda

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.

e.e.cummings

Artist’s editions

Emerson’s text has inspired generations of readers, thinkers and artists. To honor the wide spectrum of people who have been influenced by his words, Volume has invited six very special global artists, designers and others from the creative professions to devise their own covers.

They are architect Sir David Adjaye, illustrators Maira Kalman and Yuko Shimizu, designer John Maeda, photographer Daniella Zalcman and artist Kensuke Koike.

Collector’s edition

Among the many who have been inspired by Emerson’s words are bibliophiles who appreciate the value not only of a book’s content but as a printed artifact. Alongside the portable artist’s editions, Volume is also producing a limited slipcased edition, intended as presentation copies (for graduations and life changes) or for collectors building libraries.

This is a unique edition. The cloth-bound book, with foil-blocked lettering, is encased in a paper-covered slipcase featuring a photographic image. Number and limited to an edition of 500 copies, this is a one-time opportunity to own Emerson presented in a contemporary format for future generations.

I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Meet the editor

Jessica Helfand is an artist, designer, and writer. She grew up in Paris and New York City, and was educated at Yale University where she taught for more than two decades. A founding editor of Design Observer, she is the author of numerous books on visual and cultural criticism, including Screen: Essays on Graphic Design, New Media and Visual Culture, Design: The Invention of Desire, and Face: A Visual Odyssey. An American Institute of Graphic Arts medalist and the first-ever recipient of the Henry Wolf Residency at the American Academy in Rome, Jessica Helfand has held fellowships at Civitella Ranieri, the Bogliasco Foundation, and the California Institute of Technology.