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Essays: First Series Paperback – August 7, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Herman Melville said that Ralph Waldo Emerson possessed a "self-conceit so intensely intellectual that at first one hesitates to call it by its right name," though he later admitted Emerson was "a great man." Both were probably true. The Sage of Concord gave more than 1500 speeches in his lifetime, and Self-Reliance is probably his most important work.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1463701578
  • ISBN-13: 978-1463701574
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.3 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,483,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bill R. Moore on April 15, 2010
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 May 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Here is a good sampling of Ralph Waldo Emerson writings. After reading a few, you will wonder why he is not more popular today. At least a few of these essays should be required reading in high school and beyond. Excellent writing and great insights from a relatively well known but seldom visited American philosopher. Highly recommended for anyone on an inner journey.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been reading from the Harvard Classics list and my brains were so scrambled by the really old Greeks and the classic English writers and those who prefer to write like them.

I wept with joy when I read Emerson. He is supposed to have been the first author to write as an American writes. So I don't know how much of the joy I felt in reading his works had to do with what I had been reading before but Emerson writes lyrically and compared to others from his day, sparsely.
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Format: Paperback
This is as the title says Emerson's first collection of essays. It contains the essence of his thought, and what is perhaps his most well- known essay, "Self-Reliance". Emerson is a man of great ideas and great inspiration. He is a poetic thinker and one whose Essays seem often to be pieced together from his Journals. i.e. They do not read as one long consecutive arguments, but rather as clusters of thought, many short forays that combine into one long exploration. Emerson 's aim is to truly change his reader, to have a real effect. What he is perhaps most known for his emphasis on the value of the individual, and the importance of individual independence and freedom. He is the great critic of Authority and Tradition and group- thought. He wants each individual to find and make his own way. Emerson too and this is felt especially in his essay on 'The Over- Soul' is a deeply spiritual thinker who feels Nature and Man are bound in symbolic and purposeful connection. Turning away from particular Christian doctrines he is the teacher of one grand religion for all of Mankind. He is deeply influenced by Eastern thought, by the Indian religious texts. Yet one feels his tough New England poetic terseness, the maxim- rich quality of his thought. Emerson is too considered the great prophet of America and of its optimistic unique forward- looking attitude. But Emerson knew many personal tragedies and was not unfamiliar with the dark side of life. Reading him has never been for me a simple or easy experience. I have always sensed that I am not understanding far more than I do really get. But then Emerson can give in a phrase or paragraph a whole world of thought. He is a thinker who loves the forthright statement, but these too are often filled with ambiguity and open to contradictory interpretation.Read more ›
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The paperback version shown above is a terrible version of this book (The Essays of Emerson themselves are brilliant - this is a review of this particular book.) Although the "Look Inside" feature shows a nice table of contents, it's not there - the essays aren't named, just "Section 1, Section 2," etc. The actual essays look like someone just downloaded them from online - including odd characters floating through, paragraphs beginning midsentence and other things that make this edition virtually rubbish. For a few dollars more, pick up a better edition of these wonderful essays. [...]
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm almost done with this book and overall I'm very pleased. Emerson has a gift for expressing ethereal realities in a beautiful and meaningful way. He thinks deeply about everything, maybe a little too much, but the wisdom of his prose is stellar. I especially enjoyed his essays on self reliance and love. It's certainly worth a read.
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