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Selected Essays, Lectures, and Poems

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  184 ratings  ·  12 reviews
A new, wide-ranging selection of Ralph Waldo Emerson's most influential writings, this edition captures the essence of American Transcendentalism and illustrates the breadth of one of America'sgreatest philosophers and poets.
The writings featured here show Emerson as a protester against social conformity, a lover of nature, an activist for the rights of women and slaves,
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Published December 26th 2006 by Bantam Books (first published January 1st 1990)
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Shane
This is probably the last book of philosophy that I will read for a long time. Some of Emerson's essays were enjoyable; I'd recommend the essays Nature, Self-Reliance, and Circles to anyone interested in becoming acquainted with Emerson's work. Other than that, Emerson's writings were either unbearably dry or, to me, nearly incomprehensible.
Curtis Butturff
In the first few paragraphs of the introduction the book already suggests Emerson as the greatest American thinker of his time and whether you might put a Thoreau on that throne or look at the influences of a previous generation in some respects (Jonathan Edwards) he certainly was one of the leading if not the leading American Transcendentalists. Some might argue that Thoreau had a purer quality about him but Emerson's body of work is so much more substantial it's still mostly a matter of ones p ...more
Alec Sieber
Some sublime highlights, particularly "Nature" (which renders many of the subsequent essays redundant), "Circles", and "Thoreau." The wonderful thing about Emerson is that, even when he is not saying anything particularly novel or interesting, his style remains passionate and inspirational. Thumbing through my collection of his essays, I find I've underlined little gems of prose throughout the entire book, even in the midst of some of his dullest pieces. The poems are somewhat less consistent in ...more
Andrew
Emerson is kind of witchy. There really isn't anyone quite like him as a blend of high-minded respectability and relativistic, even subversive, spiritual wanderings. Some of the most famous essays here are the least interesting in my opinion though. "Nature" is boring but saved by a concluding thunderbolt. "Self-Reliance" is Emerson's most miserly in tone. I don't see the attraction here. "The Lord's Supper", "Divinity School Address", and "The Over-Soul", these are really good. Nietzsche liked ...more
Melissa Fausz
Transcendentalism is, in my opinion, the school of thought that propelled this nation from the Civil War forwards into the modern age. There's so much to love about Emerson: joy, optimism, individualism, and a strange practicality to his philosophy. If you only read one essay though, make it Self-Reliance.
Laura
I am not a big poetry person and I wouldn't pick this up again as a pleasure read, but Emerson can write. I should probably give this more stars, but 3 stars is what I use to rate things that might have been well written but just weren't something I enjoyed a whole lot.
Lisa
Oct 17, 2010 Lisa is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this without much intent to read it cover to cover, but to re-visit and expand on essays I read and enjoyed 5-6 summers ago.
John
Emerson is credited with saying some of the most profoundly simple truths. These are things that just needed to be said out loud.
Pamela
A good collection of Emerson's work, but I just don't care for his writing. :(
Kelli
Those who know me know that this book keeps the bears away!
Tony D
A collection worth its weight in gold
Ezara
Includes, "Self-Reliance"
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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 ...more
More about Ralph Waldo Emerson...
Self-Reliance and Other Essays Essays and Poems Self-Reliance The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson Essays and Lectures

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“Poet

To mask the fiery thought,
in simple words succeeds.
For still the craft of genius is,
To mask a king in weeds”
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“The reliance on authority measures the decline of religion, the withdrawal of the soul. The position men have given to Jesus, now for many centuries of history, is a position of authority. It characterizes themselves. It cannot alter the eternal facts.” 0 likes
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