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The Portable Emerson

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  276 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 - April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, poet, and leader of the Transcendentalist movement in the early nineteenth century.
ebook, Revised Edition, 670 pages
Published August 27th 1981 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1946)
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Amongst all his poetry the following is one of my favorites.

The Snow-Storm

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Come see the north wind's masonry.
How can a man who said and wrote so many lovely things also, somehow, be sooooo egregiously boring?

Seeing as how I am most certainly NOT a philosophy scholar, I think it would have been better for me to have half-assed it and read something closer to "Emerson's Greatest Hits." ...although I thought that's kind of what this was meant to be. Eh.
I could - and maybe should - read "Self-Reliance" at least once every month. For me it's one of those texts that gives you a good slap on the face and forces you to really scrutinize your priorities. There are things I still have questions about (namely, his attitude towards charity) but that only adds to the richness of the text. Quite non-dual, too.
Living in New York, you can lose touch with nature. Reading this on the subway in the mornings instead of AM new york or Metro, really helps one connect with something bigger than themselves even in a crowded, materialistic, adrenaliine driven city.
Well, this is the great Ralph Waldo Emerson. When one speaks of Emerson as regards words and thought, there comes the muse that herein lies the 'sentence.' Few if any realize that Emerson had attained what in some circles is coined "Cosmic Consciousness." His writings were among the most principled, spanning the periods of the 18th and 19th Centuries among the men and women of Letters of America and Britain -- and simply literary concerns generally, regardless of origin. One today relies so heav ...more
Alex Gregory
Solid primer on one of America's master writers. I profess that the subject matter was very difficult to follow at times, as I'm not that big on poetry or long-form essays with more classical language. Nonetheless, this is an excellent book for anyone just getting into the man's works, and there are some short stories and speeches that stay with you after you've read them.

David A. Beardsley
Despite efforts to reduce Emerson to an avuncular source of pithy quotes, his essays, when read in their fullness, still contain the power to move and inspire people today. He was deeply American, yet also aware of the tradition of Idealism, dating back to Plato and beyond, which shaped much of his thinking. His use of language takes some getting used to, since he was often writing at the edge of what is expressible in words, but when you have acquired a taste for him it's difficult to go back t ...more
H.g. Callaway
This book is a collection of Emerson's essays and poems--perhaps the standard collection for the generl reader. For the scholar, it is often useful to quote this edition, since it is so widely available. Sound scholarship--though now a little older than the recent work in the current Emerson revival. The book has been frequently reprinted.
Dan Kelly
Self-reliance is one of a handful of essays and books I dig out and reread every couple of months, or whenever I'm feeling a bit adrift. It's about as close as I get to inspirational, but this has an edge to it.
Maggie Brown
Sep 10, 2009 Maggie Brown rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Maggie by: college class in transcendentalism
A major book for my 'deserted island' list. Dip into it every year since I discovered him in the 1960's and am always pleasantly surprised how much I learn.
Jan 31, 2011 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Michael by: My father
Perhaps one of the most quintessential American reads. I don't believe I will ever stop reading this book.
James Violand
A brilliant man, famous during his time. He should be revisited frequently.
Love this book, I always turn to the essay "self reliance" when I feel down.
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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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“Truly speaking, it is not instruction, but provocation, that I can receive from another soul. What he announces, I must find true in me, or reject; and on his word, or as his second, be he who he may, I can accept nothing.” 12 likes
“The selfish man suffers more from his selfishness than he from whom that selfishness withholds some important benefit.” 2 likes
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