Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Essays and Poems” as Want to Read:
Essays and Poems
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Essays and Poems

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  13,207 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Essays and Poems, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

New introductions commissioned from
Paperback, 560 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Barnes Noble Classics (first published 1856)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,207 ratings  ·  65 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Book Review
I had read Emerson’s works once before and I hated it at first reaction always. Well, I decided to read it thoroughly and try to understand it. I was utterly amazed. He had such profound and wonderful things to say. I honestly was deeply touched. I decided to write down everything I got from his piece. It is in very fragmented thoughts, so it may not be in grammatically correct sentences. Well, here goes...
Look through our eyes today and not through someone’s from the past. All
Mar 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
great works are timeless. sometimes the right book finds you at the right time and makes everything ok.
Michelle Lyle
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is astounding. There is a reason why Emerson's words show up on everything from bookmarks to refridgerator magnets. They're pristine and profound. Some of these essays will stay with you long after you read them, as they reach far into your head and heart and demand you to be honest with yourself. The poetry is a little less, but still far reaching.
This is astounding. There is a reason why Emerson's words show up on everything from bookmarks to refridgerator magnets. They're pristine and pr
Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read Emerson in an American Literature course and immediately fell in love. I'm a big fan of nature so the transcendentalist view attracted my attention. Emerson uses very intense vocabulary and sentence structure, but once you spend the time to read things slowly you can decipher so much meaning in his writing. His work is an example of how I hope to write in the future, full of knowledge, experience and eloquence. He gave me an entire new appreciation for nature, making me reconsider e ...more
Brian Barnett
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I feel that nothing can befall me in life--no disgrace, no calamity (leaving me my eyes) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground--my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite spaces--all mean egoitism vanishes." However, "To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and heart of the child. The lover of nature is ...more
Christopher Dean
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In school I just learned about Ralph Waldo Emerson the poet. They never taught about him as a thinker and philosopher. This book was amazing. The man was an absolute genius. I highly recommend reading this to gain a wider vision of life.
Anam Zahra
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inspiring
Every single word in this BOOK by Ralph is truly magical and touched my soul too. Everyone like me can learn a true meaning of all expressions and feelings in its best way!
Jul 06, 2011 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
A book I will probably always be reading. It's full of such great wisdom that to say," I'm done," with this work would be a travesty.
Janet Diaz
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books destined to remain with us for a lifetime. I recommend it to anyone who wants to get to the marrow of life without fear.

Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
Emerson is an American prophet and is the genius behind the Transcendentalist movement. He foresaw the spiritual renaissance, the direction that America was heading in and was ahead of his time in how he saw religion (as opposed to how the masses saw it) as were all the Transcendentalists with him. Unfortunately, his writing suffers from his overwrought style. It just does not hold up and is cumbersome, very difficult to get through. Where his genius really comes through is where it is tightly w ...more
John Reynolds
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Timeless, thoughtful, engaging, a great read!
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don't agree with everything he says, but what he does say, HE SAYS IT SO WELL.
Aldrich Johnson
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good read. Essays and Poems is a must read for all literature student
Doreen Wallace
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This should be required reading for everyone.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
From the blur of college classes, I remember this lovely prose.
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those desiring inspiration to carry on - up again, old heart!
Recommended to Lesliemae by: Michael Boughn
From Self-Reliance:
"There is one mind common among all men."
"I would write on the lintels of my doorpost: Whim."
"No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature"

May 2009 inscription:
I fell for **** this month and have constructed an entire imaginary future - is this wrong to entertain? Frustrating, yes, but wrong? I look at @@@ and know I really do like being with him, but want **** too.

August 2009 inscription:
**** and I went on a scooter trip on Friday to start the perfect long
May 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Great excerpts from his speeches on the evolution of man's skill, the inspiration and limitation of books, the importance of direct experience, how memories evolve with time, trusting our instincts and being ourselves.

"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."

"Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted
Karen Hanson
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
While these essays definitely take a bit of effort to read, they are well worth it. I read this on and off over a period of a year or so. I appreciated that it was easy to pick up, read an essay, and then come back to it later when I had the time. There were so many wonderful bits of knowledge and deep insights included in this book. I found myself constantly underlining things I read and thinking about the ideas throughout the day. Emerson is one of the few 'classic' writers that deserves the l ...more
Andrew Eick
Emerson is at once thoroughly engrossing and repetitively dull. He waxes on, quite often, about simplicity and straightforwardness in what feels like needlessly obtuse rhetoric. Whether it is simply the distinction in time between he and I or a genuine irony in his prose is difficult to say. Regardless, he is definitely a brilliant mind seeking desperately to sink the literary geist into the American tradition. He foreshadows Melville, Hawthorne, Twain, and Whitman as the pioneering settlers of ...more
Jun 09, 2009 rated it did not like it
Emerson was a spineless opportunist who took ideas from everyone with whom he was ever in contact. His verse is uninspiring and his prose is convoluted...While I don't deny his ideas were crucial in the shaping of the American identity, I believe the Emersonian tradition of self-reliance contributed to the capitalist nightmare we have to deal with today. Also, his ideas about feminism are upsetting: he only seemed to be concerned with how women on equal footing with men would be beneficial for m ...more
Mar 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: classics
I don't know if I can actually classify this book as 'read', since I just couldn't get through it and abandoned it after a week. I really tried, but 30 pages into the first essay and I couldn't tell ya what I just read. So, I skipped to the next one and only made it 5 pages in before I flipped to the poetry. Poetry may not be my thing. It was so abstract and boring to me that I just put this one down. Sorry Mr. Emerson!
Emerson has alot to say. Unfortunately, He has too much to say and his writing (speeches) are convoluted and difficult to follow. He is so discursive that I often wondered what subject he was addressing. No doubt of his intelligence(crazy genius?) and while he uses reason, his in depth expositions are like blather. This book took me 7 months to finish, I read 40 other books while avoiding this one.
Rhea Rosier
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am biased and totally in love with Ralph Waldo Emerson. Everything he thinks and puts down into words hits home with me. Truly life changing in its simplicity and understanding of the world around us. I have read nearly everything he has ever written and some of it multiple times. If I had to recommend specific essays they would be Circles and The Over-Soul.
If RW were alive today, he'd be a bestselling self-help guru. This book is fantastic. There are some lesser known essays in this book that are excellent. One such essay is called "Illusions."

Self-reliance is a classic essay as is Nature. Power is very interesting as well.

I'm not much for Ralph's poetry but he sure could write an amazing essay!
Jessica Jewett
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have second edition copies of Emerson essays. They're all heavy reads and require critical thinking (essays are not my forte) but I find them moving and necessary reads for all. The mark of a good piece of writing is whether it makes you look deeper into yourself. Emerson's writing does that for me.
Sep 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Almost certainly my desert island book. I first read Emerson in college and have returned to him more or less annually ever since. Returning again to him this past summer was an invigorating experience. Those new to Emerson should start with "The American Scholar."
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, essays
I read "Self Reliance" and "Experience" for my Modern/PostModern MOOC course from Wesleyan. Emerson is as relevant today as he was then. To thine own self be true...No that was Shakespeare. Well, these are universals but it's good to have it all spelled out for you. It helps you look at yourself.
Aron Edwards
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, philosophy
A book of wonderful prose and many a must read essay.
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've read several essays already, and I must admit, he is quite a form of genius. "Nature", being the longest, is one of the most thought-provoking of all of them.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ethan Frome and Selected Stories
  • Common Sense and Other Writings
  • Essential Dialogues of Plato
  • Founding America: Documents from the Revolution to the Bill of Rights
  • The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction
  • Great American Short Stories: From Hawthorne to Hemingway
  • The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings
  • The Road Not Taken and Other Poems
  • The House of the Dead/Poor Folk
  • Walden & Civil Disobedience
  • Daisy Miller and Washington Square
  • Selected Stories
  • Pygmalion and Three Other Plays
  • Poetry and Prose
  • Billy Budd and The Piazza Tales
  • Complete Poems and Selected Letters
  • English Romantic Poetry
  • "I Am": The Selected Poetry of John Clare
See similar books…
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
“In the woods, we return to reason and faith.” 7 likes
“The soul is superior to its knowledge; wiser than any of its works.” 6 likes
More quotes…