New York: Literary Classics of the . 1983. United States
Why read it? Emerson’s unit of thought is the epigrammatic sentence. Emerson writes a poetic prose. Emerson’s beliefs—that each man shares in the Over-Soul, or God, that man possesses, within himself, the means to all knowledge—expressed in his memorable sentences, are of central importance in the history of American culture. The only trouble is most of his ideas are half-truths.
“…Omar’s fanatical compliment to the Koran.. ‘Burn the libraries, for their value is in this book.’ ” P. 633. ………. “Out of Plato come all things that are still written and debated among men of thought.” P. 633. ……….. “Great geniuses have the shortest biographies…lived in their writings and so their house and street life was trivial and commonplace” p. 635. ………. “The mind is urged to ask for one cause of many effects, then for the cause of that; and again the cause, diving still into the profound: self-assured that it shall arrive at an absolute and sufficient one—one that shall be all.” P. 638. ………. “Meantime, Plato, in Egypt and in eastern pilgrimages, imbibed the idea of one deity, in which all things are absorbed.” P. 640. ………. “Every great artist has been such by synthesis.” P. 641. ………. “He[Plato] is a great average man…so that men see in him their own dreams….” P. 644. ………. Plato: “The essence of man…is to comprehend a whole; or that which, in the diversity of sensations, can be comprised under a rational unity.” P. 645. ………. “…the love of the sexes is initial; and symbolizes, at a distance, the passion of the soul for that immense lake of beauty it exists to seek.” P. 649. ………. “[Plato’s] sense deepens, his merits multiply, with study.” P. 654.
To be continued.