Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson Chapter Abstracts for Teachers

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Nature | The American Scholar

• "Nature" (1836) is Ralph Waldo Emerson's first published essay, in which he discusses the foundations of transcendentalism. One of the beliefs of transcendentalism is that through solitude in nature, one can develop his spiritual awareness of a divine power.

• Emerson separates the world into four categories: commodity, beauty, language, and discipline. He says that idealism is the natural result of discipline.

• Emerson's transcendentalism is one step removed from pantheism. He says that only by redemption of the soul can humans experience the world in its "original and eternal beauty."

• "The American Scholar" was delivered at Harvard in 1837. In it, he refutes the popular idea that scholarship and books are idle, passive pursuits removed from the mainstream of life.

• Instead, Emerson says they are the tools people use to advance themselves from ignorance to knowledge. Emerson says American scholars should be challenged to foster and support...

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