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Representative Men: Seven Lectures (Modern Library Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Ralph Waldo Emerson , Brenda Wineapple
1.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $10.45
Kindle Price: $2.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Introduction by Brenda Wineapple

In 1845 Ralph Waldo Emerson began a series of lectures and writings in which he limned six figures who embodied the principles and aspirations of a still-young American republic. Emerson offers timeless meditations on the value of individual greatness, reconnecting readers with the everyday virtues of his “Representative Men”: Plato, in whose writings are contained “the culture of nations”; Emanuel Swedenborg, a “rich discoverer” who strove to unite the scientific and spiritual planes; Michel de Montaigne, “the frankest and honestest of all writers”; William Shakespeare, who “wrote the text of modern life”; Napoleon Bonaparte, who had the “virtues and vices” of common men writ large; and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who “in conversation, in calamity…finds new materials.”

This Modern Library Paperback Classic reflects the author’s corrections for an 1876 reprinting.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews


“The most important work done in prose.”
—Matthew Arnold

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Andrew Delbanco is the Mendelson Family Chair of American Studies and Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University.

Product Details

  • File Size: 443 KB
  • Print Length: 194 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0812970055
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Modern Library Pbk. Ed edition (December 18, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000XUDGX0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,080,767 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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6 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ripoff August 20, 2002
this is one of my favorite Emerson works. It opens itself up to so much, talking about his theories of influence, precursing everything from queer theory and gender transitivity to Harold Bloom, and it is a poem, too. It's beautiful. It offers his thoughts on the most diverse materials, gets into the most detail on his Hindu readings, gets very brave in "Swedenborg." But ... for a 165-page book? Delbanco's intro is boring and useless. Don't even READ it before you read the book. It'll be like watching an educational video on yeast infections before watching a porno. The index is a kind of neat feature; it's cool to see how many men are mentioned how many times. For example, the most obvious 'omission' in the book, JESUS, is mentioned only 5 times in the book, but he lurks throughout in so many ways. I love the book, but think the edition is a huge ripoff. However, it is difficult to find all these essays in one volume without buying a "complete works" or something, and they are ALL good and work together as a complete 'book,' one essay building off the prior in subject and time, going from B.C. to the nineteenth century, from Plato to Napoleon and Goethe.
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0 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Emerson's 'great man' February 20, 2006
Format:Unknown Binding
Great men are those who inspire new great men into being. So Emerson understood in his seven portraits of human greatness. The poet Shakespeare and the philosopher Plato, the skeptic Montaigne and the mystic Swedenborg,the man of the world Napoleon and the writer Goethe.

Of great men he said,"Nature seems to exist for the excellent. The world is upheld by the veracity of good men: they make the earth wholesome. They who lived with them found life glad and nutritious..... We call our children and our lands by their names. Their names are wrought into the verbs of language, their works and effigies are in our houses, and every circumstance of the day recalls an anecdote of them."

It is interesting that of Emerson's great men two would certainly be in question today. Swedenborg does not have the followers in our day that he had in Emerson's. Napoleon today can be considered in these terms only if we are also willing to discuss the horrible aspect of conqueror- great- men and the millions of dead that come with the conquests.

Emerson a sublime argument for his conception of ' the great man', of the unique character who makes a gift to Mankind no one else has or can .
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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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