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.
“The reputation for taciturnity they [the English] have enjoyed for six or seven hundred years.” P. 837. ………. “The [English] have a great range of scale, from ferocity to exquisite refinement.” P. 841. ………. Of Baron Vere: “Had one seen him returning from a victory, he would by his silence have suspected that he had lost the day; and had he beheld him in retreat, he would have [thought] him a conqueror by the cheerfulness of his spirit.” P. 842. ………. “They [the English] wish neither to command or obey, but to be kings in their own houses.” P. 844. ………. “The English are a nation of humorists.” P. 845. ………. There is this benefit in brag, that the speaker is unconsciously expressing his own ideal.” P. 847. ………. “But a man must keep an eye on his servants, if he would not have them rule him.” P. 857. ………. “Man is a shrewd inventor, and is ever taking the hint of a new machine from his own structure, and adapting some secret of his own anatomy in iron, wood, and leather, to some required function in the work of the world.” P. 857. ………. “…the machine unmans the user.” P. 857. ………. “The new age brings new qualities into request….” P. 862. ………. “This long descent of families and this cleaving through the ages to the same spot of ground captivates the imagination.” P. 863. ………. “The upper classes have only birth, say the people here, and not thoughts.” P. 867.
To be continued.