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Ralph Waldo Emerson

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The Spiritual Teachings of Ralph Waldo Emerson
by Richard G. Geldard
No one who has felt the life-changing pull of Emerson’s enormous planetary mind has ever doubted his power or his greatness, though we are often puzzled to know whether he is primarily a poet, an essayist or a philosopher. Richard Geldard is not puzzled at all by this; he has written a book that plainly shows the essential Emerson to be a teacher, the Socrates of Concord, a man with a message that we need to hear today. Previous generations “beheld God and nature face to face,” Emerson says, and he adds, provocatively, that we moderns seem able only to see those things through the eyes of the earlier generations. “Why,” he asks — and the question is intended to shatter our complacency — “Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?”
Emerson’s life was devoted to showing how one may still attain an original, that is to say, an authentic, relation to the universe, and Geldard’s book aims to focus and distill the famously dispersed Emerson and put his central teachings into the modern reader’s hand.

The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson
The definitive collection of Emerson's major speeches, essays, and poetry, The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson chronicles the life's work of a true "American Scholar."
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."

Ralph Waldo Emerson : Essays and Lectures
The major works of Emerson's most productive period in their entirety: "Nature: Addresses and Lectures," "Essays: First and Second Series," "Representative Men," "English Traits," and "The Conduct of Life."

Self-Reliance and Other Essays
The six essays and one address in this volume outline the great transcendentalist’s moral idealism as well as hinting at the later scepticism that colored his thought. In addition to the celebrated title essay, the others included here are "History," "Friendship," "The Over-Soul," "The Poet" and "Experience," plus the well-known and frequently read Harvard Divinity School Address.

Selected Quotes

"Your own mind is a sacred enclosure into which nothing harmful can enter except by your permission."

"Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying."

"If you would not be known to do anything, never do it."

"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you."

"Self-trust is the essence of heroism."

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

"We aim above the mark to hit the mark."

"Hitch your wagon to a star."

"No great man ever complains of want of opportunity."

"Every great man is unique."

"Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood."

"To be great is to be misunderstood."

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us."

"Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself."

"Of cheerfulness, or a good temper - the more it is spent, the more of it remains."

"Knowledge is an antidote to fear."

"Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones."

"Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great."

"You and I can never do a kindness too soon, for we never know how soon it will be too late."

"Don't waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it."

"All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man has taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first."

"Good luck is another name for tenacity of purpose."

"Men talk as if victory were something fortunate. Work is victory."

"They can conquer who believe they can. He has not learned the first lesson is life who does not every day surmount a fear."

"Your own mind is a sacred enclosure into which nothing harmful can enter except by your promotion."

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