Tag Archives: emerson

Serving the Word

It might have been but a deception of the vapours, but, the longer the stranger was watched, the more singular appeared her manoeuvres. “Benito Cereno” by Herman Melville In a recent scholarly biography of Louis Agassiz, Christoph Irmscher, in a chapter on Agassiz’s notorious “race science,” notes that Agassiz is in no way the lone […]

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The Work of Language

This is from Dan McCall’s preface to the Norton Critical ed. of Melville’s Short Novels. ********* He read voraciously; in Moby-Dick he said, “I have swam through libraries.” When he began to read Shakespeare, for example, something not altogether conscious or voluntary began happening to him. In American Renaissance, …F. O. Matthiessen concludes that Melville’s […]

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A Muddle in the Middle: Dominion and Rule

Emerson begins his essay “Experience” (1844)–and here it’s good to remind the modern, the “now” of ourselves, that our thoughts have already walked the earth– Where do we find ourselves? In a series of which we do not know the extremes, and believe that it has none. We wake and find ourselves on a stair; […]

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Neither Men Nor Toadstools

AUDIO: Neither Men Nor Toadstools I’m inclined to think “teaching” and “instruction” in institutional contexts are only misguided industrial practice. The best that can be done (and one might admit it’s not nothing though suspect) is to learn a way to speak about the mechanics of language conventions. The only way to “master” these conventions is […]

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Bantling Psalms

Hard upon the last entry I remembered that Waldo penned his own “psalm” to the new nation commemorating a commemoration of the Battles of Lexington & Concord (April 19, 1775). I thought it would serve to put that poem in close proximity to Melville’s. Concord Hymn Sung at the Completion of the Battle Monument, July […]

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Becoming Commoner

Let’s give Henry a prefatory statement to center our thinking before we dither about in the malleabilities the minded self: The penny-post is, commonly, an institution through which you seriously offer a man that penny for his thoughts which is so often safely offered in jest. And I am sure that I never read any memorable […]

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…and ride Mankind

What boots thy zeal, O glowing friend, That would indignant rend The northland from the south? Wherefore? To what good end? Boston Bay and Bunker Hill Would serve things still: Things are of the snake. The horseman serves the horse, The neat-herd serves the neat, The merchant serves the purse, The eater serves his meat; […]

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from Nature by Emerson

An audio recording by Doug Storm from Emerson’s Nature. (10:52) Introduction: Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should […]

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from “Self-Reliance” by Emerson

An audio recording by Doug Storm of the below selection from “Self-Reliance.” (13:24) from Essays: First Series (1841) Ralph Waldo Emerson “Ne te quaesiveris extra.” “Man is his own star; and the soul that can Render an honest and a perfect man, Commands all light, all influence, all fate; Nothing to him falls early or too […]

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The Place Where They Cried

Audio Recording by Douglas Storm of a Letter by Ralph Waldo Emerson to President Van Buren regarding the forced removal and relocation (1836 and 1839) of the Cherokee Nation from their lands in Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina to the Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) in the Western United States, which resulted in the deaths […]

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Glorifying War Shall Not Grow Old

Concerning War Movies (prompted by a conversation about Peter Jackson’s movie They Shall Not Grow Old). In J. D. Salinger’s […]

Cutting Down the Clouds

This winter they are cutting down our woods more seriously than ever,—Fair Haven Hill, Walden, Linnaea Borealis Wood, etc. etc. […]

Representative Texts from Hawthorne to Dickinson

In your daily busyness you are pressed for time to think and often choose instead anesthetization – watching any number […]

Between Hope and Defeat, History and Heaven

“God himself culminates in the present moment.” (Thoreau) What is “now” for? What if you “know” the future? Fairy tales […]

Absolute Solutions Necessary

Only two things to do: 1. zero out carbon emissions 2. exception: all technological and scientific labor exploring new solutions […]

Rachel Carson’s book had no real effect

Facing Global Climate Disruption and the End of Everything All At Once… David Wallace-Wells’ The Uninhabitable Earth tries very hard […]