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Self-Reliance and Other Essays (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – Unabridged, October 13, 1993


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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Unabridged edition (October 13, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486277909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486277905
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Essayist, poet, and philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) propounded a transcendental idealism emphasizing self-reliance, self-culture, and individual expression. The six essays and one address included in this volume, selected from Essays, First Series (1841) and Essays, Second Series (1844), offer a representative sampling of his views outlining that moral idealism as well as a hint of the later skepticism 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.

Customer Reviews

Great to purchase a Book over 50 years old.
386Vintage
Emerson's optimistic view on human beings and life can only reinforce our courage in mankind and, especially, in ourselves!
Fernando Beirão
A classic that should be read by anyone who enjoys fine literature.
B. Bates

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Beirão on 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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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on 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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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Peter A. Greene VINE VOICE on 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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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By halfwitamerican on 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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48 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Joe J. on March 30, 2000
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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