Representative Men: Nature, Addresses and Lectures

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Houghton, Miflin, 1883 - 648 pages
Representative Men contains seven essays, the first of which discusses the role great men play in society. The remaining six essays extoll the virtues of six men whom Emerson deemed great: Plato, Emanuel Swedenborg, Michel de Montaigne, William Shakespeare, Napoleon, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Nature contains the essence of Emerson's transcendental philosophy in which the world of phenomena is seen as symbolic of the inner life, and individual freedom and self-reliance are emphasized. Emerson's addresses apply his doctrine to scholars, clergymen, and others.

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Page 85 - The loyalty, well held to fools, does make Our faith mere folly: — Yet he that can endure To follow with allegiance a fallen lord, Does conquer him that did his master conquer, And earns a place i
Page 113 - We have listened too long to the courtly muses of Europe. The spirit of the American freeman is already suspected to be timid, imitative, tame.
Page 59 - Their understanding Begins to swell ; and the approaching tide Will shortly fill the reasonable shores, That now lie foul and muddy.
Page 101 - The office of the scholar is to cheer, to raise, and to guide men by showing them facts amidst appearances.
Page 9 - Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of...
Page 94 - There is then creative reading as well as creative writing. When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion. Every sentence is doubly significant, and die sense of our author is as broad as the world.
Page 92 - ... of the Deity is not his; cinders and smoke there may be, but not yet flame. There are creative manners, there are creative actions, and creative words; manners, actions, words, that is, indicative of no custom or authority, but springing spontaneous from the mind's own sense of good and fair. On the other part, instead of being its own seer, let it receive from another mind its truth, though it were in torrents of light, without periods of solitude, inquest, and self-recovery, and a fatal disservice...
Page 38 - In like manner, the memorable words of history and the proverbs of nations consist usually of a natural fact, selected as a picture or parable of a moral truth. Thus: A rolling stone gathers no moss; A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush; A cripple in the right way will beat a racer in the wrong; Make hay...
Page 31 - Every word which is used to express a moral or intellectual fact, if traced to its root, is found to be borrowed from some material appearance. Right means straight; wrong means twisted. Spirit primarily means wind; transgression, the crossing of a line; supercilious, the raising of the eyebrow.
Page 110 - What would we really know the meaning of? The meal in the firkin; the milk in the pan; the ballad in the street; the news of the boat; the glance of the eye; the form and the gait of the body...

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