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e-book The conduct of life (1860)

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This new edition emphasizes Emerson's philosophy and thoughts on such issues as freedom and fate; creativity and established culture; faith, experience, and evidence; the individual, God, and the world; unity and dualism; moral law, grace, and compensation; and wealth and success. Emerson's text has been fully annotated to explain difficult words and to clarify his references. The Introduction, Notes, Bibliography, Index, and Chronology of Emerson's life help the reader understand his distinctive outlook, his contributions to philosophy, and his place in American culture and society.

Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published April 28th by University Press of America first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Conduct of Life , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews.

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Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. This is a book Emerson wrote in the latter years of his career, and it really shows how much he's changed both as a person and in his philosophy. He's become more balanced, more practical, less radical, less idealistic.

You can't find a more practical topic than the conduct of life! Some of these essays, like Behavior, in which he discusses the importance of proper etiquite, is a from his earlier writings. The classic Emerson is still noticeable in this book. In Fate, he argues how there are This is a book Emerson wrote in the latter years of his career, and it really shows how much he's changed both as a person and in his philosophy. In Fate, he argues how there are general tendencies and laws in all parts of nature and human conduct, which on a large enough scale serves as a sort of fate even though the individual still has free will.

Considerations comes the closest to classic Emerson, with lines like "Masses are rude, lame, unmade, pernicious in their demands and influence, and need not to be flattered but to be schooled. I wish not to concede anything to them, but to tame, drill, divide, and break them up, and draw individuals out of them. Noticeably missing is Emerson's iconic eloquence. Every line of his early writing was like a line of poetry. This book is eloquent, but not nearly as eloquent as his early writing.

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Conduct of Life: A Philosophical Reading

So there's a reason why all Emerson quotes come from his early writing, which was profound, poetic, and radical. I find it interesting that most people would say they value balance and maturity, and yet they find themselves most inspired by radical, idealistic philosophy. People seem to get most fired up by ideas they have no intention to live up to, from thinkers who themselves didn't live up to them. Isn't that odd? This is a good book, and maybe it's sad that a writer has to have all of their writing meticulously compared with their early writing.

After a writer makes their mark with something profound, they are expected to never change, which is silly and unreasonable. But we readers can't help it. We've come to expect a certain quality from a writer, and feel disappointed if later work is not as good as earlier works.

There is always a best way of doing everything. They do not know the charm with which all moments and objects can be embellished.

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Life is an ecstasy. Although not as strong as his Essays , there are some good observations and musings to be found in this collection, and I especially enjoyed Culture, Considerations by the Way, and Illusions. Emerson's writing seems to be suffused with this poetic quality, and so, much like his Essays and, I suspect, almost all his writing, poetical or otherwise this collection can be enjoyed as much for its language, as its content. Recommended for admirers of Emerson, but anyone unfamiliar should definitely start with his Essays.

I do not wish to be amused. I wish that life should not be cheap, but sacred. I wish the days to be as centuries, loaded, fragrant. Now we reckon them as [days in which] some pleasure we are to taste.


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Considerations by the Way All the toys that infatuate men, and which they play for, — houses, land, money, luxury, power, fame, are the selfsame thing, with a new gauze or two of illusion overlaid. Power Everything is good which takes away one plaything and delusion more. Behaviour Books, as containing the finest records of human wit, must always enter into our notion of culture.

The best heads that ever existed, Pericles, Plato, Julius Caesar, Shakspeare, Goethe, Milton, were well-read, universally educated men, and quite too wise to undervalue letters. Power I like people who like Plato. The foe long since in silence slept; Alike the conqueror silent sleeps; And Time the ruined bridge has swept Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream, We set to-day a votive stone ; That memory may their deed redeem , When, like our sires, our sons are gone. Spirit , that made those heroes dare , To die , and leave their children free , Bid Time and Nature gently spare The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Disputed [ edit ] The next thing to saying a good thing yourself, is to quote one This sentence has no known source in Emerson's works, but its general sense does closely match the tenor of Emerson's essay "Quotation and Originality", in particular the sentence "Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. Gow, Foundations for Human Engineering contains the following passage: "I have the backing of Emerson, for it was he, I believe, who said that the next thing to saying a good thing yourself, if to quote one".

The Conduct of Life - Wikipedia

It is not clear whether Gow is purporting to quote Emerson verbatim , or merely to paraphrase his work. Misattributed [ edit ] Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting—a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing. To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded. Widely attributed to Emerson on the internet, this actually originates with "What is Success? As soon as there is life there is danger.


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  • Actually from De l'Allemagne by Madame de Stael. Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. Variation : If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, though he builds his house in the woods the world will make a beaten path to his door. Investigations have failed to confirm this in Emerson's writings John H.

    Robinson Crusoe for young, Biddle 1st Ed. Arthur, Cedardale, The Peacemakers, 1st Ed illus. Steinbeck's Cup of Gold, 1st U. Lot Emerson writes essays on fate, on living with and lacking wealth, how to behave, worship, internal and external beauty, and much more. It is often considered by his peers and contemporaries to be the best book he ever wrote.

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