Ralph Waldo Emerson: Representative Selections, with Introduction, Bibliography, and Notes


The following selections from the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson have been made, first, with a view to their intrinsic literary importance, and second, with a view to comprehensiveness. They illustrate, as far as possible, all the literary forms which he used, the whole period of his literary career, and the whole range of his thought. Too often he is studied only as the writer of formal, well-groomed essays. Often his later writing is shadowed by the brilliance of his earlier, more challenging pronouncements. Often his transcendental theories are emphasized at the expense of his shrewd, Yankee perceptions.

The Introduction follows the same general principles as the selections. More particularly it attempts to interpret Emerson in terms of the present day, and to test the value of his ideas for our own times. This involves a certain amount of personal opinion, and perhaps the editor should state that his sympathies are with the modernist, rather than with the classicist or humanist critics. Like any original and fertile writer, Emerson can be interpreted in many different ways, and the editor has attempted to follow Emerson's own principles, and treat him from a fresh, rather than from a strictly orthodox point of view. This will appear particularly in the sections on "Philosophy" and "Individualism and Socialism."

The Bibliography attempts to criticize the books and the more important articles which have been written about Emerson, and particularly to list those which have been published recently. The Notes supplement the Introduction with a more specific discussion of the text.

The text of Emerson's prose and verse included in the present volume is that of the Centenary Edition, which incorporates the...

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • F. I. C.
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1934


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