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The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – September 12, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; 2000 Modern Library pbk. ed edition (September 12, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679783229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679783220
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I was simmering, simmering, simmering. Emerson brought me to a boil."
--Walt Whitman

From the Inside Flap

The definitive collection of Emerson's major speeches, essays, and poetry, The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson chronicles the life's work of a true "American Scholar."

As one of the architects of the transcendentalist movement, Emerson embraced a philosophy that championed the individual, emphasized independent thought, and prized "the splendid labyrinth of one's own perceptions." More than any writer of his time, he forged a style distinct from his European predecessors and embodied and defined what it meant to be an American. Matthew Arnold called Emerson's essays "the most important work done in prose."

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Customer Reviews

Buy this book, sit back and read what thoughts we are capable of forging, and enjoy!
Ralph
For those who are not familiar with his works, it should be noted that Emerson is, without a doubt, a very unique writer.
Bati
And once understood, ideas are easy to apply to our own life to better understand what we have read.
Seth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Bati on February 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
I think it is probably safe to assert that to read Emerson is to be forever indebted to him. His wording, his clearness of thought, his determination, his warmth... He has all the qualities one could ask for in a writer, and all one could ask for in a mentor. Nietzsche held Emerson's books the closest, and said they were above his praise; Borges added "Whitman and Poe have overshadowed Emerson's glory, as inventors, as founders of cults; line by line, they are inferior to him". James, the very Whitman, Proust, Frost, have all also praised him sincerely. Judging from other reviews, the love for Emerson hasn't diminished, more than a century after his passing.

For those who are not familiar with his works, it should be noted that Emerson is, without a doubt, a very unique writer. I was surprised when I realized that there is more poetry in his philosophy than in most verse books, yet he is always lucid; and that his poems, although hued by an impressive depth of thought, remain always passionate. He was renown as a brilliant lecturer, and his essays have all the force and simplicity of the oral form. Few people are so rich in memorable aphorisms, and one finds a treasure of a quote in every sentence: "A drop is a small ocean"; "We are not built like a ship to be tossed, but like a house to stand"; "Whoso be a man, must be a non conformist"; "Punishment is a fruit that unsuspected ripens within the pleasure which concealed it"...

Those looking for a good introduction to Emerson can't do wrong buying this Modern Library Edition. In fact, those who are familiar with Emerson but are looking for an inexpensive paperback to carry around probably should pick this one up too.
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272 of 292 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Magnus on December 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
My daughter sent me one of these e-mail questionnaires intended to reveal your personality. One of the questions on it was, "What person, living or dead, would you give $10,000 to spend an hour with?" In that moment, I typed in "Ralph Waldo Emerson". He's not the only one, but I certainly would beg, borrow or steal $10,000 for an hour with him -- not Thoreau, not Whitman, not Schiller... but Emerson I would. And Goethe I would. Still my simple heart lies closer to Emerson than to Goethe.

30 years ago, when I entered high school, we studied the Transcendentalists in a basic lit class, and something about Emerson just glowed in my mind. The teacher told me that with time I'd get to know other authors better, and Emerson would take his place alongside a legion of others. But he was in a degree mistaken. Emerson never did diminish. I have never fallen out of love with him. And the relationship is a serious one. When the shadow of doubt creeps over me that my presence on this planet might be some kind of horrendous mistake, I still crack open a volume of Emerson. And he has never failed to recall me to myself.
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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Seth on October 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
With all the books written about philosophy today, and in the past, this should be perhaps, by far, the most sought after work. Camus and Dostoevsky have contributed much to thought and philosophy of existentialism, but this seems to, in its own way, surpass any labeling of a type of philosophy.
Self-Reliance has to be one of the most understood pieces in the collection. Mr. Emerson speaks in a tone that is easily understood and thoughts explained in plain english, no degree required to understand. And once understood, ideas are easy to apply to our own life to better understand what we have read.
Without a doubt, this book is a must in any thinkers library. Walt Whitman says it best about this book, "I was simmering, simmering, simmering. Emerson brought me to a boil." A genius of a book.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jesse A Whyte on May 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
Having read piece-meal through alot of the Trancendentalists (but never picked up anything more than a quote from Emerson), I picked up this book expecting just to read a couple of essays for perspective and stow it away on my shelves for reference.
Thirty-six hours later I was setting the book onto my shelves, but for the sole purpose of retiring for some much needed sleep before spending another five or six hours finishing the book. The editors deserve a tremendous amount of credit for putting the essays and letters together in a way that allows the reader to walk cleanly through the book without losing sight of the author. Having finished the book, I have to admit that Emerson is in a dead-heat with Throreau (for me) as the most inspiring and intelligent of the time. Amazingly clean read with delightful insights that are still relevant today.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Frederick on February 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
Does it make any sense to call this man dead? I cannot read any essay he ever wrote without hearing a call to life and to my better self. More than a pot of Folgers Emerson can keep me up at night, more than any man or woman I've met in this life he makes me think and wonder and love both- his prose is so honest that it "rises naturally to poetry." There is a reason our "greatest poets" lived in such awe of him. This man knew, felt, thought, lived the full range of man and soul and never flinched. In fact, he wrote it down. He is unmatched. Any time you spend reading this would be better spent buying this book. He is among the greatest of Americans. Enjoy.
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