The Early Lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume 2

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Harvard University Press, 1964 - Literary Criticism - 526 pages
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The notable link between Emerson's journals and his essays is formed by the lectures that reflected his developing views on issues of his time. This second volume of a welcome edition of the early lectures follows the earlier experimental series of lectures and presents the works of Emerson the now professional lecturer who revealed to his audience central ideas and themes which later crystallized into Essays, First Series.

"The Philosophy of History," a series of 12 lectures, explores the nature of man in his society, past and present, and singles out the individual as the center of society and history. A second series of 10 lectures on "Human Culture" begins with the duty and the right of the individual to cultivate his powers and proceeds to consider various means by which this cultivation can be accomplished. The occasional "Address on Education," which Emerson delivered between these two series, may be seen as a link between them.

Of the twenty-three lectures in this volume, only three have been previously published. The lectures have been reproduced from Emerson's manuscripts, approximating as nearly as possible the original version read by the author to his audience.

 

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Contents

Introductory
7
Humanity of Science
22
Art
41
Literature
55
Politics
69
Religion
83
Society
98
Trades and Professions
113
HUMAN CULTURE
207
Introductory
213
Doctrine of the Hands
230
The Head
246
The Eye and Ear
262
The Heart
278
Being and Seeming
295
Prudence
310

Manners
129
Ethics
143
The Present Age
157
The Individual
173
ADDRESS ON EDUCATION
189
On Opening the Greene Street School Providence R I 10 June 1837
194
Heroism
327
Holiness
340
General Views
357
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PRINCIPAL
367
INDEX
483
Copyright

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About the author (1964)

Known primarily as the leader of the philosophical movement transcendentalism, which stresses the ties of humans to nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and essayist, was born in Boston in 1803. From a long line of religious leaders, Emerson became the minister of the Second Church (Unitarian) in 1829. He left the church in 1832 because of profound differences in interpretation and doubts about church doctrine. He visited England and met with British writers and philosophers. It was during this first excursion abroad that Emerson formulated his ideas for Self-Reliance. He returned to the United States in 1833 and settled in Concord, Massachusetts. He began lecturing in Boston. His first book, Nature (1836), published anonymously, detailed his belief and has come to be regarded as his most significant original work on the essence of his philosophy of transcendentalism. The first volume of Essays (1841) contained some of Emerson's most popular works, including the renowned Self-Reliance. Emerson befriended and influenced a number of American authors including Henry David Thoreau. It was Emerson's practice of keeping a journal that inspired Thoreau to do the same and set the stage for Thoreau's experiences at Walden Pond. Emerson married twice (his first wife Ellen died in 1831 of tuberculosis) and had four children (two boys and two girls) with his second wife, Lydia. His first born, Waldo, died at age six. Emerson died in Concord on April 27, 1882 at the age of 78 due to pneumonia and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.

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