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Essays - Second Series

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Book Overview: 

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, philosopher, and poet, best remembered for leading the Transcendentalist movement of the mid 19th century. His teachings directly influenced the growing New Thought movement of the mid-1800s.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .f absolute good, intervenes for our succor, and at one whisper of these high powers we awake from ineffectual struggles with this nightmare. We hurl it into its own hell, and cannot again contract ourselves to so base a state.

The secret of the illusoriness is in the necessity of a succession of moods or objects. Gladly we would anchor, but the anchorage is quicksand. This onward trick of nature is too strong for us: Pero si muove. When at night I look at the moon and stars, I seem stationary, and they to hurry. Our love of the real draws us to permanence, but health of body consists in circulation, and sanity of mind in variety or facility of association. We need change of objects. Dedication to one thought is quickly odious. We house with the insane, and must humor them; then conversation dies out. Once I took such delight in Montaigne, that I thought I should not need any other book; before that, in Shakspeare; then in Plutarch; then in Plotinus; at one time. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Challenging essays that have retained their insight and vigor for nearly two centuries. I enjoyed "Self-Reliance" the most.

Every excess causes a defect; every defect an excess.

This voice of fable has in it somewhat divine. It came from thought above the will of the writer.

Beware of too much good staying in your hand. It will fast corrupt and worm worms. Pay it away quickly in some sort.

For the real price of labor is kno

Disappointed with this one. Just ramblings of a humanist. Yawn.

I got interested in Emerson by reading and enjoying Thoreau; although their mutual influence is evident, their writing styles are not alike. Walden would have been ten pages long if Emerson had wrote it. Still, I really enjoyed Emerson too. The essays are best read together even though some are quit

It's exciting to read how educated people wrote 200 y ago, how they thought. It's surprising very little has changed. Wisdom remains the same. I envy his ability to say cruel and rude things about stupid people in such a manner that you barely undestand something judgmental was told of someone. It's

I have a bit problem getting into the book since the style and the phrases used are a little archaic. However after a while, I could feel some rhythm to the language. Still, I am not accustomed to it. I am thinking of coming back to revisit the book later. Sometimes, after several passages, the lang

There are aspects of Emerson that don't do it for me. He believes in Nature, with a big capital N. He's sure he's found it, he's sure it's good, and he's sure that Nature is himself. Sometimes his belief in Nature makes him a thoroughgoing democrat. Everyone, after all, is Natural by definition. But

Self Reliance is a motivational essay. All others are Complicated conventional wisdom

I highlighted every other page.

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