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.
Introduction by Mary Oliver Commentary by Henry James, Robert Frost, Matthew Arnold, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Henry David Thoreau
The definitive collection of Emerson’s major speeches, essays, and poetry, The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson chronicles the life’s work of a true “American Scholar.” As one of the architects of the transcendentalist movement, Emerson embraced a philosophy that championed the individual, emphasized independent thought, and prized “the splendid labyrinth of one’s own perceptions.” More than any writer of his time, he forged a style distinct from his European predecessors and embodied and defined what it meant to be an American. Matthew Arnold called Emerson’s essays “the most important work done in prose.”
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
In 1845 Ralph Waldo Emerson began a series of lectures and writings in which he limned six figures who embodied the principles and aspirations of a still-young American republic. Emerson offers timeless meditations on the value of individual greatness, reconnecting readers with the everyday virtues of his “Representative Men”: Plato, in whose writings are contained “the culture of nations”; Emanuel Swedenborg, a “rich discoverer” who strove to unite the scientific and spiritual planes; Michel de Montaigne, “the frankest and honestest of all writers”; William Shakespeare, who “wrote the text of modern life”; Napoleon Bonaparte, who had the “virtues and vices” of common men writ large; and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who “in conversation, in calamity…finds new materials.”
This Modern Library Paperback Classic reflects the author’s corrections for an 1876 reprinting.
Ralph Waldo Emerson: The Major Poetry presents a selection of definitively edited texts that remind us why Emerson’s poetry matters and why he remains one of our most important theoreticians of verse. Drawn chiefly from the multivolume Collected Works, each poem is accompanied by a headnote for the student and general reader.
This concise volume collects the core writings that have made Ralph Waldo Emerson into a key source of insight for spiritual seekers of every faith—with an introduction by the bestselling philosopher Jacob Needleman.
Here is the essential collection of Emerson’s spiritual thought for those readers who understand the transformative quality of ideas. It is concise and suited to years of rereading and contemplation, offering the essays that trace the arc of the inner message brought by America’s “Yankee Mystic.”
The Spiritual Emerson features many of Emerson’s landmark works. Yet also included are overlooked classics, such as the essays “Fate” and “Success,” which served as major sources of inspiration to some of the leading American metaphysical thinkers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The introduction by religious scholar and philosopher Jacob Needleman frames—historically and philosophically—the development of Emerson’s thought and explores why it has such a powerful hold on us today.
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