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COPYRIGHT, 1876, BY RALPH WALDO EMERSON
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
has seemed fitting in the one hundredth year since the birth of Emerson to prepare a new edition of his writings in prose and verse. Nearly twenty years have gone by since the last edition was published. Mr. Emerson in his later years, when he found himself unequal to the task of revising the manuscript of his lectures and arranging the matter in permanent form, with hesitation approached on the subject the one man in whose taste and judgment he most confided, Mr. James Elliot Cabot. His friend consented, and came constantly to Concord to work on the papers, with most gratifying results. By him Letters and Social Aims was prepared for the press. Mr. Emerson in his will appointed him his literary executor.
Two years after Mr. Emerson's death, eleven volumes, carefully edited by Mr. Cabot, were published in the "Riverside Edition"; and a twelfth was added in 1895. The preparation of the three posthumous volumes required much care and labor, and this work was excellently done.
Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin and Company last summer urged the fitness of preparing a Centenary Edition with full annotation, and the matter was submitted by me to Mr. Cabot. He concurred in their view, but felt unable to undertake the task and advised me to do so. With the sanction of his wish, and because of more ready access to the manuscript and other sources of information than another could have, I assumed the duty, hoping for the benefit of the advice of my father's friend. This hope was cut off by Mr. Cabot's death in January. But his admirable arrangement of the manuscript, years ago, in which task the help of his wife, now also gone, is gratefully remembered, had made the work lighter.
The first eight volumes contain the collected Essays as Mr. Emerson left them, except revision in punctuation and correction of obvious mistakes. The ninth volume comprises the pieces chosen by him from the "Poems" and "MayDay" to form the "Selected Poems," with some restored that he omitted, and the addition of some poems and fragments never published in his lifetime, most of which appeared in the Riverside Edition. All verbal emendations in