Representative Men includes seven lectures on great men -- Plato, Swedenborg, Montaige, Shakespeare, Napoleon, and Goethe. It is natural to believe in great men. If the companions of our childhood should turn out to be heroes, and their condition regal, it would not surprise us. All mythology opens with demigods, and the circumstance is high and poetic; that is, their genius is paramount. In the legends of the Gautama, the first men ate the earth and found it deliciously sweet.
Emerson is one of the most influential thinkers in American history. His Transcendentalism preached a close communion with man and nature and is one of the great life-affirming philosophies of any age. Society and Solitude provides a salient exemplification of Emerson's thought.
As one of the architects of the transcendentalist movement, Emerson embraced a philosophy that championed the individual, emphasized independent thought, and prized "the splendid labyrinth of one's own perceptions." More than any writer of his time, he forged a style distinct from his European predecessors and embodied and defined what it meant to be an American. Matthew Arnold called Emerson's essays "the most important work done in prose."
This is an EXACT reproduction of a book published before 1923. This IS NOT an OCR'd book with strange characters, introduced typographical errors, and jumbled words. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.To find in this extraordinary book, Representative Men, an Emerson expounding the primacy of personality and heroic genius in six major figures of Western European civilization - Plato, Swedenborg, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Napoleon, Goethe - seems nothing short of anomalous. Was Emerson reconsidering his own philosophical premises? Or is there a hidden agenda in this study that reflects on European phenomena and values? As the notion of the "representative" is becoming increasingly central to our national cultural debate, it seems of utmost importance to reexamine Emerson's meditations and seek in them a challenge to philosophy.