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Self-Reliance and Other Essays (Dover Thrift Editions) [Kindle Edition]

Ralph Waldo Emerson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The 6 essays and one address in this volume outline the great transcendentalist's moral idealism as well as hinting at the later scepticism that colored his thought. In addition to the celebrated title essay, the others included here are "History," "Friendship," "The Over-Soul," "The Poet" and "Experience," plus the well-known and frequently read Harvard Divinity School Address.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States. Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of Transcendentalism in his 1836 essay, Nature. Following this ground-breaking work, he gave a speech entitled The American Scholar in 1837, which Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. considered to be America's "Intellectual Declaration of Independence". Considered one of the great lecturers of the time, Emerson had an enthusiasm and respect for his audience that enraptured crowds. Emerson wrote most of his important essays as lectures first, then revised them for print. His first two collections of essays – Essays: First Series and Essays: Second Series, published respectively in 1841 and 1844 – represent the core of his thinking, and include such well-known essays as Self-Reliance, The Over-Soul, Circles, The Poet and Experience. Together with Nature, these essays made the decade from the mid-1830s to the mid-1840s Emerson's most fertile period. Emerson wrote on a number of subjects, never espousing fixed philosophical tenets, but developing certain ideas such as individuality, freedom, the ability for man to realize almost anything, and the relationship between the soul and the surrounding world. Emerson's "nature" was more philosophical than naturalistic; "Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul." While his writing style can be seen as somewhat impenetrable, and was thought so even in his own time, Emerson's essays remain one of the linchpins of American thinking, and Emerson's work has greatly influenced the thinkers, writers and poets that have followed him. When asked to sum up his work, he said his central doctrine was "the infinitude of the private man."

Product Details

  • File Size: 645 KB
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Unabridged edition (February 7, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008TVLOF2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,413 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mighty thoughts that can shake your life! July 15, 1998
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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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Philosopher October 15, 2002
Format:Paperback
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) is one of America's pre-eminent philosophers. Born into a long line of ministers and preachers, Emerson went to Harvard at the tender age of 14, where he studied to fulfill his destiny and become a minister. Emerson eventually dropped out of this line of work, embarking on a career as a public speaker and serving as the intellectual center of a group called the Transcendentalist Club. This Dover edition contains some of Emerson's best-known essays, specifically "Self-Reliance," as well as his address to the Harvard Divinity School.
Emerson's philosophy, although sometimes painfully explicated upon in his own writings, is best summed up by the word "individualism." To Emerson, it is the individual that should be the fulcrum point in all aspects of life. Emerson then took this philosophy and applied it to a myriad of subjects.
In "History," the first essay in this collection, Emerson attempts to weave his belief in individual expression into the study of historical events. Emerson argues that a reliance on dates, places, and figures is not nearly as important as reaching within oneself to discover the whole of history. This is important because every man contributes to history, and every man can see himself in any history from any part of the world. Emerson also argues that history, as we presently know it and study it, ignores important fundamentals such as metaphysics and nature. What Emerson seems to attempt with this essay is to create a sort of "unified field theory" of history, a history that encompasses every aspect of the human experience, and one in which everyone takes part.
"Self-Reliance," Emerson's masterwork, attempts to explain how man should retain his individualism in the face of society.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, for a "thrift" edition July 18, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While the text contains some real gems of Emersonian thought (i.e. Divinity School Address and Self-Reliance) it is not an adequate representation of his better works, leaving out "Nature," "The American Scholar" and other more important and influential essays. I, personally, order this text for my Freshman English classes because it's cheap and gives two exemplary representations of Emerson for a survey course; however, if you are looking for a total package text that reflects what Emerson is capable of as a writer and thinker, you are better off investing a little more money and picking up a Norton or Library of America Edition of his works.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Essential September 15, 2000
Format:Paperback
For a buck you can certainly toss this in with whatever else you're ordering this trip. RWE is one of the great articulators of the American mind. For better or worse, here's a distilled vision of what we think. RWE's positive and powerful view of human thought can be uplifting, though some may occasionally experience a desire to snort "Oh, puh-lease!" A great source of pithy quotes and sharp insights, RWE also provides considerable depth if you wade all the way into his works. Everyone should have some collection of Emerson on the shelf, and this collection hits all the high points (though it is not, it should be said, a good choice for those suffering from chronic eyestrain).
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Part of every American Library March 30, 2000
By Joe J.
Format:Paperback
Emerson and Thoreau are THE two greatest writers regarding transcendentalism in American Literature. Emerson is a genius according to his own definition and the ideas he presents are truly part of what it means to be an American. He preaches to us about self-reliance, basically saying that if we want to make it, if we want to be geniuses in our own niche, if we want to succeed, it needs to come from inside of us. It cannot be from anyone else. These traits define the American. The American is self-reliant. He succeeds on his own. He builds his own dream, and despite impossible odds, succeeds. It is no coincidence that the most stories of rags to riches, 1 week millionaires, and overnight successes are of Americans. The language he uses is beautiful, and simply stated (yet complex in the number of ideas expressed in each word). For these reasons, some people may find it a hard read. I had to read it two or three times myself. But I assure you, the knowledge gained from this book is worth it, and truly gives one deep insight into the power of the self. Therefore, I give this book 5 stars. Emerson paints such a vivid picture of an American trait, that this book has already become an American classic, and thus I believe it should be made an essential component of every American Library.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Script from days of "not so old"? Ah hahahahahahaaa
A must for anyones collection with an open mind. Been nice to sit in on one of these fellas lecture type sermon dealio's....
Published 6 days ago by fred
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This book should be read for every young men.
Published 1 month ago by Descartes
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful jug, but it leaks
Once more Emerson's quotable and inspirational turns of phrase leave me looking for the thought beneath his claims, and once more I find it insufficient. Read more
Published 1 month ago by R. A. Gaskill
5.0 out of 5 stars Intereseting
I do personal Love this Book. Great to purchase a Book over 50 years old. LOve the Old Wording and the Wonderful writing of a Time Long Passed.
Thank you & God Bless
Published 3 months ago by 386Vintage
1.0 out of 5 stars Thought I would get some classical literature. Barely could get...
Horrible read, I read to my son, wife, and daughter all separately. Reads horribly, maybe I am missing something on the great works of art. Read more
Published 3 months ago by The Zeppelin
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant man
I absolutely loved this collection of work by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I even scanned and sent a few of the essays to friends to share the joy.
Published 4 months ago by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars a perennial favorite
This is a classic in American literature and should be on every English teacher's bookshelf. Political science and philosophy majors would do well to read it.
Published 5 months ago by Estiva
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Series of Essays
I love this book so much that I gave mine away and had to buy another copy. Self-Reliance is especially good.
Published 6 months ago by Carol R. Yocum
4.0 out of 5 stars American Classic.
It's an American Classic. Came in just as I expected. Pages, words, a cover. Only thing missing was a $100 bill in the book as a book mark.
Published 7 months ago by Lon
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Its the right book, i got what i wanted, for a good price. there is nothing more i could say.
Published 7 months ago by Alex
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