Essays and English Traits

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P. F. Collier, 1909 - 493 pages
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston, Massachussetts on May 23, 1803. He toured Europe, passing through Italy, Switzerland, and France to Britain, and visiting Landor, Coleridge, Wordsworth, and most important of all, Carlyle, with whom he laid the foundation of a life-long friendship. At the time of Emerson's death, he was recognized as the foremost writer and thinker of his country. The spirit and ideas which constitute the essence of his teaching are fully expressed in the essays contained in this volume and belong to the earlier half of his literary activity. This one volume provides a complete view of the philosophy of one of the greatest American thinkers.
 

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Page 5 - Our day of dependence, our long apprenticeship to the learning of other lands, draws to a close. The millions that around us are rushing into life, cannot always be fed on the sere remains of foreign harvests.
Page 21 - 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...
Page 138 - When I watch that flowing river, which, out of regions I see not, pours for a season its streams into me, I see that I am a pensioner; not a cause, but a surprised spectator of this ethereal water; that I desire and look up, and put myself in the attitude of reception, but from some alien energy the visions come.
Page 6 - In this distribution of functions the scholar is the delegated intellect. In the right state he is Man Thinking. In the degenerate state, when the victim of society, he tends to become a mere thinker, or, still worse, the parrot of other men's thinking.
Page 18 - ... like an ostrich in the flowering bushes, peeping into microscopes, and turning rhymes, as a boy whistles to keep his courage up. So is the danger a danger still ; so is the fear worse. Manlike let him turn and face it. Let him look into its eye and search its nature, inspect its origin, — see the whelping of this lion, — which lies no great way back; he will then find in himself a perfect comprehension of its nature and extent ; he will have made his hands meet on the other side, and can...
Page 15 - ... inspiring and expiring of the breath; in desire and satiety; in the ebb and flow of the sea; in day and night; in heat and cold; and as yet more deeply ingrained in every atom and every fluid, is known to us under the name of polarity — these " fits of easy transmission and reflection," as Newton called them, are the law of nature because they are the law of spirit.
Page 9 - The books of an older period will not fit this. Yet hence arises a grave mischief. The sacredness which attaches to the act of creation, the act of thought, is transferred to the record. The poet chanting was felt to be a divine man : henceforth the chant is divine also.
Page 63 - To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men,— that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost, and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment.
Page 181 - These are auxiliaries to the centrifugal tendency of a man, to his passage out into free space, and they help him to escape the custody of that body in which he is pent up, and of that jail-yard of individual relations in which he is enclosed.
Page 84 - We imitate; and what is imitation but the travelling of the mind? Our houses are built with foreign taste; our shelves are garnished with foreign ornaments; our opinions, our tastes, our faculties lean, and follow the Past and the Distant.

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