The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Modern Library)

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9780679600183: The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Modern Library)
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"Standing on the bare ground--my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space--all mean egotism vanishes," Emerson wrote in Nature, his statement of the principles of transcendentalism.  "I become a transparent eyeball."  Nature, published in 1836 when Emerson was thirty-three, is collected here with his book of observations on the English people; a famous sermon against administering communion in church; a sketch of his step-grandfather; the eulogy he delivered at the funeral of his Concord friend and neighbor Henry David Thoreau; twenty-three poems; and addresses, lectures, and essays on such subjects as slavery, self-reliance, and organized Christianity's obsession with the person of Jesus.  Emerson called transcendentalism another word for idealism--"a hypothesis to account for nature by other principles than those of carpentry and chemistry."  Considered intensely radical at a time when materialism and a rigid form of Christianity were ascendant, he urged Americans to "enjoy an original relation to the universe."  These selections span Emerson's career as author and traveling lecturer, and chart his evolving thought:  the concepts of the "oversoul", individualism without egotism, and antimaterialism; a belief in intuition, independence, and "the splendid labyrinth of one's own perceptions."

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"I was simmering, simmering, simmering. Emerson brought me to a boil." --Walt Whitman

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The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editions of important works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torch-bearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inaugurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.

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Emerson, Ralph Waldo
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