These essays cover a range of subjects including Prudence, Self-Reliance, Heroism, Art, Spiritual Laws, History and a host of other interesting topics.
Today the art of essay-writing and reading has almost disappeared and Essays First Series written by a master of the form can indeed provide hours of thought-provoking and deeply philosophical reading.
A distinguishing feature of Emerson's work in both lectures and writings was that he initially focused on religious and spiritual matters like many of his contemporaries, but in time, he moved away from such a narrow range and deepened and broadened the nature of his ideas.
His friends included Thoreau, Oliver Wendell Holmes and through his works, he extended his influence to many thinkers, including those as widely different as Nietzsche and William James (who was also his godson.) His ideas were considered quite innovative and radical for the time.
At the same time, America had declared its freedom and they still continued to write their opinion about certain things.
Emerson’s essays in Self-Reliance and Other Essays published in 1993 were about America’s independence and his writing.A true testament to how important this slim volume is to American literature, thought, and culture! Fuller, Margaret; Thoreau, Henry David; A Magazine For Literature, Philosophy, And Religion,300 Copies; First Edited By Margaret Fuller (1840-42) And Then By Ralph Waldo Emerson (1842-44); Volume Iis Four Issues Contain Two Poems By Thoreau, Including His Important Friendship, Later Collected In His First Book, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, And Much By Emerson Including His Defining Piece Transcendentalism.12 Volumes; 500 Copies; The Volumes Are Titled, Society And Solitude, English Traits, Lectures And Biographical Sketches, Nature, Address, And Lectures, Conduct Of Life, Poems, Representative Men: Seven Lectures, Essays: First Series, Essays: Second Series, Letters And Social Aims, Miscellanies; Natural History Of Intellect And Other Papers.11 Volumes; Two Frontispiece Portraits; The Eleven Volumes Of The Edition Are As Follows: 1. Printed At The Bremer Press With Color Initials By Anna Simons; A Total Of 530 Copies Were Printed, Numbers I-Ccl Were For Random House, Numbers 131-280 For The Buch-Bund, Hamburg, Numbers 1-130 For The Subscribers Of The Bremer Press. Miscellanies The Text, With A Preface By Thomas Carlyle, Contains Emersons Twelve Humanist Studies Simply Entitled History, Self-Reliance, Compensation, Spiritual Laws, Love, Friendship, Prudence, Heroism, The Over-Souls, Circles, Intellect, And Art; Total 325 Copies; 25 Copies On Vellum.In Friendship, one of Emerson’s essays in the book, he writes his own opinions on friendship rationally based on the beliefs mentioned.This essay basically talks about the bond and tie-in between people.Emerson's works themselves are often fragmentary, and hard to collect. A truly splendid collection would be the one presented by The Riverside Press one year after Emerson's death in 1883 The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, which contains eleven volumes, fine-printed, gold gilt engraved hardcovers. The newly occupied territory of America was seen almost like a new Eden, where the American could start the kingdom of man again, living in a state of grace without the previous corrupt authority of church or state. Emerson became this movement's chief prophet, especially with his wonderful gift for aphorisms and quips.