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The Portable Emerson (Viking Portable Library)

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Book Overview

An anthology of poems and essays reveals Emerson's philosophies on man, nature, and culture as well as providing insight into Emerson as a transcendentalist and New Englander This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Man of Great Intellect and Heart

After scanning through and thinking about the works of Marcus Aurilius, another philosopher came to mind, the 19th century lecturer, essayist and Trancendentalist, R.W. Emerson. There are certainly connections between these two great thinkers', however the space provided here is limited and therefore would be a disservice. This particular edition of The Portable Emerson is full of gems, including essays on "The American Scholar", "History" and my particular favourite, excerpts from his journals a letters. Emerson was a prolific journal writer, where can be found the seeds to his insight into life and the plight of the human being. Many years ago I read, Emerson: The Mind on Fire (Centennial Books) by Robert D. Richardson JR., a true masterpiece in the genre of biography and a labour of love. It is in this bioraphy one can capture Emerson's mind and great heart. (More than likely my favourite biography of all time.) This volume, (A Portable Emerson) is filled with essays, poems and lectures that reveals a man who incessantly sought the truth, and attempted and succeeded through his many lectures across the eastern American coast. Evidently he was a persuasive lecturer motivating thousands of Americans -which is a true gift. One of my favourite quotes from this volume: "Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you." A man who loved the world and contributed to its betterment.

Emerson, the Great Sage

Note: Your "helpful" votes are appreciated. Thanks. Most educated people are familiar with Emerson's epigrams of wisdom, but there is a whole world to explore in his essays and poems. "The Portable Emerson" gives the reader an excellent overview of Emerson's major works. Emerson's comments in the "American Scholar" about his own time place our age in perspective: "Our age is bewailed as the age of introversion. Must that needs be evil. We, it seems, are critical; we are embarrassed with second thoughts; we cannot enjoy any thing for hankering to know whereof the pleasure consists; we are lined with eyes; we see with our feet; the time is infected with Hamlet's unhappiness,-- 'Sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought.'" I hope you find something you like in my little review. Here is part of "The Problem," a poem: I like a church; I like a cowl; (cowl: a monk's hooded cloak) I love a prophet of the soul; And on my heart monastic aisles Fall like sweet strains, or pensive smiles; Yet not for all his faith can see Would I that cowled churchman be. A poem: "The Rhodora: On Being Asked, Whence Is The Flower?" "Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing, Then Beauty is its own excuse for being." "Merlin," a poem: "But mount to paradise By the stairway of surprise." And always remember the "Concord Hymn" (sung on July 4, 1837 at the dedication of the monument at Concord). Today near the bridge, there are some British flags to mark the graves of two of the King's soldiers. There are some neat unidentified lines that might have come from Emerson. "Here lie two British soldiers who sailed three thousand miles across the ocean to keep the past upon the throne." "By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April's breeze unfurled, Here once the embattled farmers stood And fired the shot heard round the world."


Every Emerson volume is 'a good read'. Unlike some other readers, I love English Traits, maybe because I am English. Emerson is a joy, everyone should read him, at least once.

Excellent Emerson

Emerson's writings are eaily and clearly displayed in this wonderful publication. My thirst for poetry was easily quenched with his powerful and meaningful words. I would recommend this book to anyone who wishes to read thoughtful and discriptive literature.

The Master of all Existentialism.

Emerson is one of the greats, there is no doubt about that. The reason that I only gave this book four stars is that this bok includes some of the worst of Emerson. His essays on Self Reliance and on Faith in America are timeless classics, however his essay on for example, English traits was very very dry. I do recommend it, but keep in mind that unless you really really dig Emmerson you may not like over half of this volume.
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