Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson - Prudence Summary & Analysis

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Prudence Summary and Analysis

Emerson calls prudence "the virtue of the senses," and freely admits he has little prudence in managing his own life. His essay, Emerson tells the reader, is meant to counter the lofty abstractions he presents in the previous essays on Love and Friendship. The world of the senses has no discernible structure or purpose, but exists alongside other laws and principles of intellectual and spiritual growth. Prudence, although perhaps inferior to other traits of character, influences the surface of life but not the interior—except when it serves to awaken man to the beauty of the natural laws within the realm of the senses, according to Emerson.

Prudence manifests itself in people of three categories—those who use prudence to achieve health and wealth for themselves; those who love the beauty of prudence including artists, poets and scientists; and...

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This section contains 352 words
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Buy the Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson Study Guide
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