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Nature and Other Essays
He was an ordained minister, renowned orator, and beloved author and poet whose ideas on nature, philosophy, and religion influencedauthors such as Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman. Through his writings,Emerson ardently professed the importance of being an individual, resisting the comfort of conformity, and creating an art of living in harmony with nature. This soul-s ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 15th 2009 by Dover Publications
(first published 1860)
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Ralph Waldo Emerson est un homme extraordinaire, une sorte de Kant qui aurait passé une bonne journée à courir dans les forêts et les prairies ou un Rousseau vigoureux et optimiste. Il voit la nature, et l'homme lui-même, comme un démembrement, une manifestation d'une sorte de grand tout, l'Esprit. Chacun doit suivre sa nature, qui est bonne parce qu'elle est divine et unique, et non les usages ou la société, qui sont plutôt corrompus. Il est important de compter sur soi-même (self reliance). Il ...more
I picked up this piece because of Emerson's known role as a mentor of Thoreau, and was curious to find out what he had to say of our state of being. I'd wager his writing style is even more abstract and metaphorical than that of his successor - the nods to ancient Greece and Rome, and the old continent in general, are bordering on excessive. Also, the Bible plays a lot greater part in his works - the lack of this might have resulted Thoreau to have a lot more redeeming, timeless value for future ...more
Overall just ok, though the Nature essay does contain my new favorite quote: "The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister, is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable." Hah! And it's awesome in every sense of the word "occult", which has a few definitions: 1) of or relating to supernatural influences, 2) beyond human comprehension, and 3) available only to the initiate; secret. Indeed.
I decided to finish this since it is Emerson's birthday today. I can conclude that this is a fascinating read which is undoubtedly profound. It's not as approachable as Walden, and many of the analogies flew right over my head, but nonetheless it caused some great reflection as all good philosophy does. "The Happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship."
in 1803, Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston. Educated at Harvard and the Cambridge Divinity School, he became a Unitarian minister in 1826 at the Second Church Unitarian. The congregation, with Christian overtones, issued communion, something Emerson refused to do. "Really, it is beyond my comprehension," Emerson once said, when asked by a seminary professor whether he believed in God. (Quoted ...moreMore about Ralph Waldo Emerson...