Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Houghton Mifflin, 1915 - 379 pages
Definitive look at the life and times of "the sage of Concord" traces the development of Emerson's often-controversial ideas and their expression, with criticisms of his early transcendentalist works, poetry, and later writings.
 

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Page 237 - There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given him to till.
Page 235 - He had been wrested by no common deliverer from the grasp of no common foe. He had been ransomed by the sweat of no vulgar agony, by the blood of no earthly sacrifice.
Page 235 - Events which short-sighted politicians ascribed to earthly causes, had been ordained on his account. For his sake empires had risen, and flourished, and decayed. For his sake the Almighty had proclaimed his will by the pen of the Evangelist, and the harp of the prophet.
Page 266 - Woden, courage and constancy, in our Saxon breasts. This is to be done in our smooth times by speaking the truth. Check this lying hospitality and lying affection. Live no longer to the expectation of these deceived and deceiving people with whom we converse. Say to them, "O father, O mother, O wife, O brother, O friend, I have lived with you after appearances hitherto. Henceforward I am the truth's.
Page 267 - The ox must be taken from the plough and the horse from the cart, the hundred acres of the farm must be spaded, and the man must walk, wherever boats and locomotives will not carry him. Even the insect world was to be defended — that had been too long neglected, and a society for the protection of ground-worms, slugs and mosquitos was to be incorporated without delay.
Page 71 - Cambridge, some thirty years ago, was an event without any former parallel in our literary annals, a scene to be always treasured in the memory for its picturesqueness and its inspiration. What crowded and breathless aisles, what windows clustering with eager heads, what enthusiasm of approval, what grim silence of foregone dissent!
Page 167 - What is this Truth you seek ? what is this Beauty! " men will ask, with derision. If, nevertheless, God have called any of you to explore truth and beauty, be bold, be firm, be true ! When you shall say, " As others do, so will I; I renounce, I am sorry for it, my early visions; I must eat the good of the land and let learning and romantic expectation go until a more convenient season...
Page 164 - Wonderful is its power to charm and to command. It is a mountain air. It is the embalmer of the world. It is myrrh and storax, and chlorine and rosemary. It makes the sky and the hills sublime, and the silent song of the stars is it.
Page 268 - Ineffable is the union of man and God in every act of the soul. The simplest person who in his integrity worships God, becomes God ; yet for ever and ever the influx of this better and universal self is new and unsearchable.
Page 69 - Everybody had a mission (with a capital M) to attend to everybody else's business. No brain but had its private maggot, which must have found pitiably short commons sometimes. Not a few impecunious zealots abjured the use of money (unless earned by other people), professing to live on the internal revenues of the spirit. Some had an assurance of instant millennium so soon as hooks and eyes should be substituted for buttons. Communities were established where everything was .to be common but common...

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