Essayist, poet, and philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) propounded a transcendental idealism emphasizing self-reliance, self-culture, and individual expression. The six essays and one address included in this volume, selected from Essays, First Series (1841) and Essays, Second Series (1844), offer a representative sampling of his views outlining that moral idealism as well as a hint of the later skepticism that colored his thought. In addition to the celebrated title essay, the others included here are "History," "Friendship," "The Over-Soul," "The Poet," and "Experience," plus the well-known and frequently read Harvard Divinity School Address.
Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most important figures in American nature writing, yet until now readers have had no book devoted to this central theme in his work. "The Best Read Naturalist" fills this lacuna, placing several of Emerson’s lesser-known pieces of nature writing in conversation with his canonical essays. Organized chronologically, the thirteen selections—made up of sermons, lectures, addresses, and essays—reveal an engagement with natural history that spanned Emerson’s career. As we watch him grapple with what he called the "book of nature," a more environmentally connected thinker emerges—a "green" Emerson deeply concerned with the physical world and fascinated with the ability of science to reveal a correspondence between the order of nature and that of the mind. "The Best Read Naturalist" illuminates the vital influence that the study of natural history had on the development of Emerson’s mature philosophy.
He was an ordained minister, renowned orator, and beloved author and poet whose ideas on nature, philosophy, and religion influenced authors such as Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman. Through his writings, Emerson ardently professed the importance of being an individual, resisting the comfort of conformity, and creating an art of living in harmony with nature. This soul-satisfying anthology of twelve favorite essays is a treasure. In the title essay, Emerson writes about the extraordinary power of nature as a way of bringing the divine into our lives. In "Gifts," he reminds us that flowers and gold may be acceptable to those we love, but "the only gift is a portion of thyself." "Spiritual Laws" points out that because a higher law than our own rules the world, there is no need for struggle. Other essays include "Character," "Prudence," "Intellect," "Love," "Beauty," "The American Scholar" address and others. Readers of all ages will want to keep this volume on hand to inspire and refresh the spirit
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