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In 1834, Ralph Waldo Emerson, formerly a Unitarian minister, began a new career as a public lecturer. Many of those lectures formed the source material for his essays. Nature (1836), his first published work, contained the essence of his transcendental philosophy, which involved viewing the world of natural phenomena as a symbol of the inner life and emphasizing individual freedom and self-relianc…

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Circles is an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, first published in 1841. The essay reflects on the vast array of circles one may find throughout nature, and what is suggested by these circles in philosophical terms. In the opening line of the essay Emerson states The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end.

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Emerson's discourse on the laws of compensation, takes on the notion that one who has money must be wicked and those who do not must be good, among other topics. It appeared in his book Essays, first published in 1841.

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Emerson's treatise on the nature of friendship. The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.

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In Gifts Ralph Waldo Emerson muses on the function of and expectations surrounding the giving of gifs. He touches on what gifts communicate about the nature of the giver and receiver, and how the best kind of gift is a gift of love.

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Building on and enriching ideas set forth in Self-Reliance, Emerson argues that true heroism is self-confidence and persistency in the face of corrosive pressures to conform to society.

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In Manners, Ralph Waldo Emerson expounds on the meaning of customs and politeness in civil society. He argues that the purpose of manners is more to facilitate the creation and proper working of society, and not to establish hierarchies.

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The great writings of American transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) are not some distant ponderings on life - they are works of the highest practicality, intended to supply guidance and daily help. Emerson's ideas arose from his simple observations of human existence, with all its pitfalls and possibilities. Reading and listening to Emerson brings the wisdom of the ages do…

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This version of Nature is an 1843 revision to the popular essay written and published in 1836. In the original essay, Emerson put forth the foundation of transcendentalism, and suggested that reality can be understood by studying nature. Within the essay, Emerson divides nature into four usages: Commodity, Beauty, Language and Discipline. These distinctions define how humans use nature for their b…

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Douglas W. Tallamy’s first book, Bringing Nature Home, awakened thousands of individuals to an urgent situation: wildlife populations are in decline because the native plants they depend on are fast disappearing. His solution? Plant more natives. In this new book, Tallamy takes the next step and outlines his vision for a grassroots approach to conservation. Nature’s Best Hope shows how homeowners…

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The essay on Prudence was given as a lecture in a course on Human Culture, in the winter of 1837-8. It was published in the first series of Essays, which appeared in 1841. In it, Emerson describes Prudence as The virtue of the senses and admits to having little of it in himself.

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In an 1841 essay, American transcendentalist philosopher and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered a stirring call for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency and to follow their own instincts and ideas. It contains one of Emerson's most famous quotations: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” Self-Reli…

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In The Poet, an essay by U.S. writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, the author expresses the need for the United States to have its own new and unique poet to write about the new country's virtues and vices. It is not about men of poetical talents, or of industry and skill in meter, but of the true poet. After reading the essay, Walt Whitman consciously set out to answer Emerson's call. When the 1855 editio…

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The American Scholar was a speech given by Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1837, to the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Harvard College. Emerson argues that American culture, still heavily influenced by Europe, could build a new, distinctly American cultural identity. Emerson uses Transcendentalist and Romantic points of view to explain a true American scholar's relationship to nature. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.…

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Marcus Aurelius, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Napoleon Hill are some of the most notable names in nonfiction classics. While these authors each come from very different time periods, their thoughts have been chronicled in the books that they wrote, and their advice has been followed by millions of individuals for centuries. Explore their views on everyday topics and implement their thought into your l…

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Emotionally raw and deeply reflective, Imani Perry issues an unflinching challenge to society to see Black children as deserving of humanity. She admits fear and frustration for her African American sons in a society that is increasingly racist and that, at times, seems irredeemable. However, as a mother, feminist, writer, and intellectual, Perry offers an unfettered expression of love—finding bea…

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In the summer of 1869, Scottish immigrant John Muir worked as a shepherd in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. The diary he kept during this time was later adapted into My First Summer in the Sierra, which was published in 1911. His record describes the majestic vistas, flora and fauna, and other natural wonders of the area. Having inspired millions to visit the area, today Muir is recognized a…

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An experiment. A declaration. A spiritual awakening. Noted transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau spent two years, two months and two days chronicling his near-isolation in a small cabin he built in the woods near Walden Pond, on land owned by his mentor and the father of Transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Immersing himself in nature and solitude, Thoreau sought to develop a greater understand…

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In 1845, noted transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau spent two years, two months, and two days chronicling his near-isolation in the small cabin he built in the woods near Walden Pond on land owned by his mentor, the father of Transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Shedding the trivial ties that he felt bound much of humanity, Thoreau reaped from the land both physically and mentally, and pursued…

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