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Essays: First and Second Series (The Library of America) Paperback – February 19, 1990

5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Our most eloquent champion of individualism, Emerson acknowledges at the same time the countervailing pressures of society in American life. Even as he extols what he called "the great and crescive self," he dramatizes and records its vicissitudes. Here is a collection of his classic essays, including the exhortation to "Self-Reliance" and the embattled realizations of "Circles" and "Experience." Here, too, are his wide-ranging discourses on history, art, politics, nature, friendship, love, and much more.

For the first time, the authoritative editions of works by major American novelists, poets, scholars, and essayists collected in the hardcover volumes of The Library of America are being published singly in a series of handsome and durable paperback books. A distinguished author has contributed an introduction for each volume, which also includes a detailed chronology of the author's life and career, an essay on the choice of the text, and notes.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 397 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679726128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679726128
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,863,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

There are few people as quoted and quotable as Ralph Waldo Emerson, founder of the transcendental movement and author of classic essays as Self-Reliance, Nature, and The American Scholar. Emerson began his career as a Unitarian minister and later put those oratory skills to move us toward a better society. More remains written on him than by him.

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Format: Paperback
This is one of the greatest books I have ever read. I know that many people don't like to read essays of any kind, but all I can say is that Ralph Waldo Emerson is simply different! Nobody has the gift to write essays and analyze life like him.
His words and ideas are so powerful and deep that we soon realize that they didn't come only from a brilliant mind, but also from a warm-hearted soul!
That's exactly what this book is about: Its sentences break through your brain and penetrate right into your soul! Emerson's optimistic view on human beings and life can only reinforce our courage in mankind and, especially, in ourselves!
What else can I say? His speech is direct, he defends all the good values, tell us to have confidence in ourselves and show us that passing through life with dignity is a matter of choice and courage, and that it simply doesn't change with time. It was like this a thousand years ago, it will probably follow the same rules a thousand years f! ! rom now.
This is the book I grab to comfort my spirit when I'm having difficult times... :) It is a guide that make us believe that anything is possible when we really want it! " Self-Reliance ", one of the essays inside this book, is a masterpiece in its own and I believe it should be studied in every high school, instead some of the crap we are usually obliged to read!
This book can shape your spirit and your mind. It is also possibly THE BEST self-help book you could ever own and, yet, a great literary work.
I would rate this book as ageless and I'm sure the future generations will be still interested in it, in the same way we are in those ancient Greek and Roman texts.
This is precious culture and food for your soul as a bargain! Do not waste more time. READ IT!!!
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Format: Paperback
Ralph Waldo Emerson is America's greatest essayist and one of its greatest orators. To call him an essayist indeed sells him rather short and is very misleading. Most think of essays as interminable, dry, and academic, full of jargon, polysyllables, and other esoterica making them near-inaccessible to general readers. Emerson is very different. His writing is vibrant and vital, making subjects come alive in a way that is as accessible as it is thought-provoking. He writes about general topics - self-reliance, history, love, friendship - of fundamental importance to humanity but is never pretentious, portentous, or arcane; his writing is indeed so strong and lively that it can be read as literature - or even entertainment. Emerson was most famous in life for oratory and is now best-known for essays but had a poet's soul in the truest sense; he wrote many poems, but a poetic sensibility underlies all his writings. His essays are sculpted with poetic precision; he is admirably concise and knows just what words to use to get attention and desired effect, not needing more. Perhaps more importantly, his style is as close to poetry as prose can be, full of beautiful descriptions, exciting metaphors, and general lushness. Yet he was also a philosopher, conveying classic philosophy in easily relatable form with new relevance and contributing much of his own. Only Plato himself rivals Emerson for combining poetry and philosophy's unique strengths; his essays are strong on all fronts.

Emerson now unfortunately and unfairly has a reputation as a difficult, somewhat antiquated read in many minds. This is a travesty, as very few classic writers are as relevant and accessible.
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By A Customer on November 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
I accidentally found this book in my university library in Australia while I was looking for Thoreau's "Walden". One glance at the Contents page had me hooked, and I can tell you that this has to be one of the most insightful and powerful books ever written. Whether you believe in Christianity, Buddhism, or the Force, this is a must for anyone's personal spiritual canon. The man was a Jedi, and the book is total butter.
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