Representative Men: Nature, Addresses and Lectures

Representative Men: Nature, Addresses and Lectures

by Ralph Waldo Emerson
     
 

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…  See more details below

Overview

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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940026129065
Publisher:
Houghton, Mifflin and Co .
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
806 KB

Read an Excerpt

"Emerson is a writer who grows restless if he stays too long with any proposition. And so, as one of his most intelligent modern readers, Judith Shklar, has pointed out, he built Representative Men around the principle of 'rotation,' which had become a political axiom in Jacksonian America—the idea that no man, no matter how imposing, should be accorded permanent authority. Representative Men honors the language of democracy in its very title, and it employs political metaphors throughout. 'We are multiplied,' the opening chapter declares, 'by our proxies.' "

—From the Introduction by Andrew Delbanco

Meet the Author

Andrew Delbanco is Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. Among his many publications are The Puritan Ordeal and The Real American Dream: A Meditation on Hope (both from Harvard).

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