CHAPTER VIII FORESHADOWINGS

IT is admitted on all hands that Emerson represents an extraordinary intellectual and moral development. That an extraordinary intellectual and moral development would almost necessarily readjust one's scale of values is a proposition that virtually everybody would concede. We have, then, in Emerson's superiority an adequate and available explanation for his difference from ourselves, but with curious and amusing unanimity everybody rejects this account of the matter, and assumes that Emerson's departures or divergences are aberrations. If a man finds the universe not quite so ugly as it appears to most of us, the purblind can see that his vision is defective.

We wish to suggest in this concluding chapter the possibility that Emerson was a synthesis and an anticipation--an anticipation because he was a synthesis. We do not pretend to be able to prove the actuality of this proposition; we do not even claim access to any inward oracle which guarantees its accuracy for ourselves. Mere possibilities, however, are often worth looking at. Progress springs largely out of the synthesis in the individual of traits or tendencies that in cruder periods had to find a lodgment in distinct and divergent personalities. The world grows when strength and virtue, muscle and brain, courage and prudence, liberality and piety, lib-

-360-

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Ralph Waldo Emerson
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Prefatory Note *
  • Contents *
  • Chapter I: - The Crescent Man 1
  • Chapter II: - "Full Circle" 45
  • Chapter III: - The Westering Wheel 115
  • Chapter IV: - The Harvest 157
  • Chapter V: - Emerson as Prose-Writer 227
  • Chapter VI: - Emerson as Poet 274
  • Viii. Conclusion 294
  • Chapter VII: - Emerson's Philosophy 297
  • Chapter VIII: - Foreshadowings 360
  • Index 375
  • Complete Works 381
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