Epictetus: (Words and wisdom by Epictetus, circa 55-135 AD)

It is easy to see that a greater self-reliance must work a revolution inall the offices and relations of men; in their religion; in their education;in their pursuits; their modes of living; their association; in their property;in their speculative views.

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He had been a profound inspiration for many writers, especially Henry Thoreau and Walt Whitman.

Emerson's Wife. A novel by Amy Belding Brown.

's great subject, says Emerson, is not so much the fall of man as liberty. The English poet advocated civil, ecclesiastical, literary, and domestic liberty. He opposed slavery, denied predestination, argued for freedom of the press, and favored the principle of divorce. 's writings are valuable not as literary artifacts, Emerson argues, but as pathways to the man. Emerson insists on linking the person and the writing. 's poems, like his prose, reflect the "opinions, the feelings, even the incidents of the poet's life." In general Emerson rates 's prose at least as high as his poetry, and he boldly redefines 's prose poetry in an important critical statement. "Of his prose in general, not the style alone, but the argument also, is poetic; according to Lord Bacon's definition of poetry, following that of , 'Poetry, not finding the actual world exactly conformed to its idea of good and fair, seeks to accommodate the shows of things to the desires of the mind, and to create an ideal world better than the world of experience.'"

was and is difficult to categorize, as it could be viewed as a:

That divided and rebel mind,that distrust of a sentiment because our arithmetic has computed the strengthand means opposed to our purpose, these have not.

He continued his speeches against slavery, but never with the fire of Theodore Parker.

in the next room his voice is sufficiently clear and emphatic.

For, the sense ofbeing which in calm hours rises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diversefrom things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one withthem, and proceeds obviously from the same source whence their life andbeing also proceed.

It seems he knows how to speak to his contemporaries.

Whatis the nature and power of that science-baffling star, without parallax,without calculable elements, which shoots a ray of beauty even into trivialand impure actions, if the least mark of independence appear?

He died quietly of pneumonia in 1882. , Virginia Commonwealth University

In every work of geniuswe recognize majesty.

He after her death from tuberculosis, troubled by theological doctrines such as the Lord's Supper, and traveled extensively in Europe, returning to begin a career of lecturing.

[Jone Johnson Lewis] A reliable and searchable source for many Emerson texts, with discussion.

This sculpturein the memory is not without preëstablished harmony.

High be his heart, faithful his will, clear his sight, that he may in goodearnest be doctrine, society, law, to himself, that a simple purpose maybe to him as strong as iron necessity is to others!

Emerson himself provided a fairly open definition in his 1842 essay “The Transcendentalist”:

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.

In December 1839 Emerson gave two lectures on literature as part of a series called "The Present Age," much of the material of which went into a paper called "Thoughts on Modern Literature," published in the in October 1840 and reprinted in (1893). Here Emerson lists, in order of importance, three classes of literature. "The highest class of books are those which express the moral element; the next, works of imagination; and the next, works of science." Though he calls "the first literary genius of the world, the highest in whom the moral is not the predominating element," he insists that 's work "leans on the Bible: his poetry supposes it." By contrast, "the Prophets do not imply the existence of or ." is secondary, the prophets of the Bible are primary. These views compensate and balance those in the Divinity School address. Indeed seems to have been intended by Emerson as a sort of corrective of some of his early views and various misinterpretations of them. One of the best things in "Thoughts on Modern Literature" is a long and very specific treatment of the problem of subjectivity. Defending the subjectivism of the age, Emerson is at great pains to distinguish true subjectivism (the right of each single soul, each subject "I" to "sit in judgment on history and literature, and to summon all facts and parties before its tribunal") from narrow-minded insistence on one's own personality or mere "intellectual selfishness." "A man may say , and never refer to himself as an individual," says Emerson in a phrase that prefigures his concept of the representative poet.