Nature and Selected Essays

Nature and Selected Essays

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  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780142437629
  • 416 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


An indispensible look at Emerson’s influential life philosophy

Through his writing and his own personal philosophy, Ralph Waldo Emerson unburdened his young country of Europe’s traditional sense of history and showed Americans how to be creators of their own circumstances. His mandate, which called for harmony with, rather than domestication of, nature, and for a reliance on individual integrity, rather than on materialistic institutions, is echoed in many of the great American philosophical and literary works of his time and ours, and has given an impetus to modern political and social activism.

Larzer Ziff’s introduction to this collection of fifteen of Emerson’s most significant writings provides the important backdrop to the society in which Emerson lived during his formative years.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Table of Contents

Introduction   7
Suggestions for Further Reading   29
A Note on the Text   31


  1. Nature 1836   35

  2. The American Scholar 1837   83

  3. An Address Delivered Before the Senior Class in Divinity College, Cambridge 1838   107

  4. Man the Reformer 1841   129

  5. History (Essays, First Series) 1841   149

  6. Self-Reliance (Essays, First Series) 1841   175

  7. The Over-Soul (Essays, First Series) 1841   205

  8. Circles (Essays, First Series) 1841   225

  9. The Transcendentalist 1842   239

  10. The Poet (Essays, Second Series) 1844   259

  11. Experience (Essays, Second Series) 1844   285

  12. Montaigne; Or, the Skeptic (Representative Men) 1850   313

  13. Napoleon; Or, the Man of the World (Representative Men) 1850   337

  14. Fate (The Conduct of Life) 1860   361

  15. Thoreau 1862   393