Philosopher John Dewey called Ralph Waldo Emerson the one citizen of the New World fit to have his name uttered in the same breath with that of Plato. Through his writing and his own personal philosophy, Emerson unburdened his young country of Europe’s traditional sense of history and showed Americans how to be creators of their own contexts. With his central text, Nature, he singlehandedly engendered an entire spiritual and intellectual movement in Transcendentalism. Editor Jeffrey S. Cramer has chosen texts like Nature and The American Scholar, along with revelatory journal entries, letters and poetry revealing a stirringly human writer.
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