Ralph Waldo Emerson - Essays, I: History

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wings

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Do I need to explore human history, and how?

Emerson: Art and history as a private and universal adventure

From: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, I: History


A painter told me that nobody could draw a tree without in some sort becoming a tree; or draw a child by studying the outlines of its form merely- but, by watching for a time his motions and plays, the painter enters into his nature, and can then draw him at will in every attitude. So Roos "entered into the inmost nature of a sheep." I knew a draughtsman employed in a public survey, who found that he could not sketch the rocks until their geological structure was first explained to him.

What is to be inferred from these facts but this: that in a certain state of thought is the common origin of very diverse works? It is the spirit and not the fact that is identical. By descending far down into the depths of the soul, and not primarily by a painful acquisition of many manual skills, the artist attains the power of awakening other souls to a given activity.

It has been said that "common souls pay with what they do; nobler souls with that which they are." And why? Because a soul, living from a great depth of being, awakens in us by its actions and words, by its very looks and manners, the same power and beauty that a gallery of sculpture, or of pictures, are wont to animate.

Civil history, natural history, the history of art, and the history of literature- all must be explained from individual history, or must remain words. There is nothing but is related to us, nothing that does not interest us- kingdom, college, tree, horse, or iron shoe, the roots of all things are in man. It is in the soul that architecture exists. Santa Croce and the Dome of St. Peter's are lame copies after a divine model. Strasburg Cathedral is a material counterpart of the soul of Erwin of Steinbach. The true poem is the poet's mind; the true ship is the shipbuilder. In the man, could we lay him open, we should see the sufficient reason for the last flourish and tendril of his work, as every spine and tint in the sea-shell pre-exist in the secreting organs of the fish. The whole of heraldry, and of chivalry is in courtesy. A man of fine manners shall pronounce your name with all the ornament that titles of nobility could ever add.

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Source: http://www.ellopos.net/education/emerson-history.asp




DiVx

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lionpsyche

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"Because a soul, living from a great depth of being, awakens in us by its actions and words, by its very looks and manners, the same power and beauty that a gallery of sculpture, or of pictures, are wont to animate."


Amazing, Βικούλα!


wings

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Πολύ χαίρομαι που σας άρεσε, παιδιά. :-)



lionpsyche

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jessyto27

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As I read the essay, I have realized that Emerson taught that individuals should rely on their sense of truth and right. But also that such an individual truth and right were dependable precisely because they would resonate not with social convention but with the universal law. With the spiritual law, that is at the core of the universe itself.
« Last Edit: 09 Jun, 2010, 09:47:30 by jessyto27 »


 

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