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Synopsis

The reading of Emerson on the Over-Soul, on the Law of Compensation, on the relationship between man and nature, on first principles and moral courage, self-realization, has had a formative influence on many readers. Often they first encounter his work by chance, but on reading him have gradually become confirmed Emersonians in their outlook. In the quiet of the Old Manse at Concord, Emerson could reflect at leisure and stretch the great wings of his imaginative insight. He gave substance to those things which, though aware of, we find difficult to match with words. Nature was Emerson's first published work and already there is evident Emerson's 'characteristic signature affirmation.' Emerson called his generation back to the primary conditions of man, to the 'insistent now of individual experience.' Emerson would feel a stranger in our world. Yet part dreamer, part realist, he is with us still, 'touching the very well springs of our moral courage' as a reading of The Conduct of Life will show, with its central theme of living with one's limitations

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