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Book Title: Self-Reliance and Other Essays|
The author of the book: Ralph Waldo Emerson
The size of the: 496 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.3
Date of issue: January 1st 2013
ISBN 13: 9781420946932
Format files: PDF
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Follow the thoughts of essayist, poet and American Transcendentalism founder Ralph Waldo Emerson as he discovered his own belief system in the anthology "Self-Reliance and Other Essays." In "Self-Reliance," Emerson explained that standing on one's own two feet against society was essential to forming a strong union with God. Once this essay was published, it received both wild praise and hurtful backlash from different factions of America. However, Emerson pushed through the negative criticism, stood against the crowd, and found himself stronger in his faith than he ever had before. Emerson found that self-reliance, no matter the situation, would always help the individual persevere and become stronger. Because Emerson wrote for the common man, many of his essays and poems are relatively simple and straight-forward; he wanted audiences to understand his thoughts and identify with his beliefs. He also wanted to wake them up from the conventional modern life that he believed had often placated them. Emerson's writings were meant to help the reader transcend to a more thoughtful mindset. His essays discuss themes of philosophy, poetry, history, politics, ethics, and literary criticism, all of which helped break people from what he believed were their mediocre lives. He saw that humanity could become stronger as a whole if people would take the steps to make themselves and their minds stronger. The texts in "Self-Reliance and Other Essays" will not only inspire readers, but they will inspire self-examination and evaluation as well.
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Read information about the authorin 1803, Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston. Educated at Harvard and the Cambridge Divinity School, he became a Unitarian minister in 1826 at the Second Church Unitarian. The congregation, with Christian overtones, issued communion, something Emerson refused to do. "Really, it is beyond my comprehension," Emerson once said, when asked by a seminary professor whether he believed in God. (Quoted in 2,000 Years of Freethought edited by Jim Haught.) By 1832, after the untimely death of his first wife, Emerson cut loose from Unitarianism. During a year-long trip to Europe, Emerson became acquainted with such intelligentsia as British writer Thomas Carlyle, and poets Wordsworth and Coleridge. He returned to the United States in 1833, to a life as poet, writer and lecturer. Emerson inspired Transcendentalism, although never adopting the label himself. He rejected traditional ideas of deity in favor of an "Over-Soul" or "Form of Good," ideas which were considered highly heretical. His books include Nature (1836), The American Scholar (1837), Divinity School Address (1838), Essays, 2 vol. (1841, 1844), Nature, Addresses and Lectures (1849), and three volumes of poetry. Margaret Fuller became one of his "disciples," as did Henry David Thoreau.
The best of Emerson's rather wordy writing survives as epigrams, such as the famous: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." Other one- (and two-) liners include: "As men's prayers are a disease of the will, so are their creeds a disease of the intellect" (Self-Reliance, 1841). "The most tedious of all discourses are on the subject of the Supreme Being" (Journal, 1836). "The word miracle, as pronounced by Christian churches, gives a false impression; it is a monster. It is not one with the blowing clover and the falling rain" (Address to Harvard Divinity College, July 15, 1838). He demolished the right wing hypocrites of his era in his essay "Worship": ". . . the louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons" (Conduct of Life, 1860). "I hate this shallow Americanism which hopes to get rich by credit, to get knowledge by raps on midnight tables, to learn the economy of the mind by phrenology, or skill without study, or mastery without apprenticeship" (Self-Reliance). "The first and last lesson of religion is, 'The things that are seen are temporal; the things that are not seen are eternal.' It puts an affront upon nature" (English Traits , 1856). "The god of the cannibals will be a cannibal, of the crusaders a crusader, and of the merchants a merchant." (Civilization, 1862). He influenced generations of Americans, from his friend Henry David Thoreau to John Dewey, and in Europe, Friedrich Nietzsche, who takes up such Emersonian themes as power, fate, the uses of poetry and history, and the critique of Christianity. D. 1882.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was his son and Waldo Emerson Forbes, his grandson.
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