Essays, First Series

Front Cover
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017 M08 15 - 310 pages
I do not wish to treat friendships daintily but with roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass beads or frost-work but the solidest thing we know...." is how Ralph Waldo Emerson saw the ties of friendship in one of his essays titled Friendship, more than a hundred years ago. This and other interesting essays are included in Essays First Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the distinguished American philosopher and writer. Apart from writing, he was also a very gifted and popular public speaker who toured the length and breadth of the country sharing his ideas with the larger public. A distinguishing feature of Emerson's work in both lectures and writings was that he initially focused on religious and spiritual matters like many of his contemporaries, but in time, he moved away from such a narrow range and deepened and broadened the nature of his ideas. His friends included Thoreau, Oliver Wendell Holmes and through his works, he extended his influence to many thinkers, including those as widely different as Nietzsche and William James (who was also his godson.) His ideas were considered quite innovative and radical for the time. He was a staunch believer in individual freedom and equality of the races. As a strong supporter of abolitionism, he believed that slavery was a prime example of human injustice. Known as the "Concord Sage" Emerson's thoughts influenced the politics and thinking of the age. His essays were almost all written for the lecture format initially and their almost conversational style makes them very readable. These essays cover a range of subjects including Prudence, Self-Reliance, Heroism, Art, Spiritual Laws, History and a host of other interesting topics...

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About the author (2017)

Known primarily as the leader of the philosophical movement transcendentalism, which stresses the ties of humans to nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and essayist, was born in Boston in 1803. From a long line of religious leaders, Emerson became the minister of the Second Church (Unitarian) in 1829. He left the church in 1832 because of profound differences in interpretation and doubts about church doctrine. He visited England and met with British writers and philosophers. It was during this first excursion abroad that Emerson formulated his ideas for Self-Reliance. He returned to the United States in 1833 and settled in Concord, Massachusetts. He began lecturing in Boston. His first book, Nature (1836), published anonymously, detailed his belief and has come to be regarded as his most significant original work on the essence of his philosophy of transcendentalism. The first volume of Essays (1841) contained some of Emerson's most popular works, including the renowned Self-Reliance. Emerson befriended and influenced a number of American authors including Henry David Thoreau. It was Emerson's practice of keeping a journal that inspired Thoreau to do the same and set the stage for Thoreau's experiences at Walden Pond. Emerson married twice (his first wife Ellen died in 1831 of tuberculosis) and had four children (two boys and two girls) with his second wife, Lydia. His first born, Waldo, died at age six. Emerson died in Concord on April 27, 1882 at the age of 78 due to pneumonia and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.

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