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Although Ralph Waldo Emerson, perhaps America’s most famous philosopher, did not wish to be referred to as a transcendentalist, he is nevertheless considered the founder of this major movement of nineteenth-century American thought. Emerson was influenced by a liberal religious training; theological study; personal contact with the Romanticists Coleridge, Carlyle, and Wordsworth; and a strong indigenous sense of individualism and self-reliance. Emerson’s best work was done between 1836 and 1860, a period which includes his famous Essays.
These essays contain his most important writing and radiate with sensitivity and wonder. Here Emerson’s prose shows him to be both a vigorous thinker and a profound mystic, a man of exquisite feeling combined with stern moral fiber. His strong love of retirement from life, contemplation of the sublime and the mystic, his self-reliance, and his strong character left their stamp not only on such writers as Thoreau, Whitman, and Emily Dickinson but also on the American character at large.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) was a renowned lecturer and writer whose ideas on philosophy, religion, and literature influenced many writers, including Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman. After an undergraduate career at Harvard, he studied at Harvard Divinity School and became an ordained minister. He led the transcendentalist movement in America in the mid-nineteenth century. He is perhaps most well known for his publications Essays and Nature.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jake Behm on 12-01-15
Riggenbach's Essays, Not Emerson's
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
I am a fan of Emerson, and when I buy a book purporting to be authored by Emerson, it should be his work rather than something modified by the reader or nameless editors. If you want someone to censor great literature for you according to their own revisionist agenda, and don't care to puzzle through a work yourself, then you have found your audiobook!
What was most disappointing about Ralph Waldo Emerson’s story?
I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed the narration. But, some parts sounded "off" and quite different from what I remembered of the text. I checked my copy of Emerson's essays and found that they did not contain some of the things uttered in the narration. It may be that the reader is working from a different edition, or perhaps was moved by some muse to change Emerson's words, but I don't care for unidentified departures from the text. If Riggenbach, or others, want to bring their revisionist agenda into the narration of these essays, they should clearly say as much.
What does Jeff Riggenbach bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Added perspectives unique to the reader and quite distinct from the original author.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
The book itself is without peer, but this rendering of it lacks fidelity to the original. That having been said, the narrator possesses a rich and entertaining voice. He could read a phone book and it would sound grand.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful