>>Learn to communicate more deeply, effectively, compassionately.<<

A Quote
Site Map
What's New
Symbol Key
Contact Us

 For in-depth homework help and research including biography and history using recent full-length texts online, try Questia.com

Emerson: Biographies
Emerson Pictures
Emerson: Works
Emerson: Analysis
Emerson: Quotes
Emerson: Bibliography
Emerson: Books
Emerson: Related
Emerson: Commercial

1837 Review: Nature
About Self-Reliance
Spiritual Emerson

Emerson Texts

Email this page
Print this page
Add to favorites
Track changes
Search the net


Support This Site

Related Sites:
Women's History
Famous Unitarian Universalists

Transcendentalists > Emerson > Analysis and Criticism > 1837 Review: Nature

1837 Review: Nature

"... it certainly will be called remarkable ..."

Excerpts from an 1837 review of Emerson's Nature:

[387]The work is a remarkable one, and it certainly will be called remarkable by those, who consider it "mere moonshine" as well as those, who look upon it with reverence as the effusion of a prophet-like mind. Whatever may be thought of the merits, or of the extravagances of the book, no one, we are sure, can read it, without feeling himself more wide awake to the beauty and meaning of Creation....

[388] Coming to the chapter on Idealism, many will be tempted to shut the book in disgust, and lament, that so sensible a man as the writer has before shewn himself to be, should shew such folly. And we ourselves doubt much the wisdom of the speculation in this chapter, although we would not call him insane, who thinks the material world only ideal, believing as we do, that as Turgot has said, "He, who has never doubted the existence of matter, may be assured, he has no aptitude for metaphysical inquiries."...

[391] We are unable to perceive the bearing of the writer's argument, in proof of Idealism, or to allow the advantage, which he claims for his theory. All his arguments, it seems to us, go to prove merely the superiority of mind over matter. And all the advantage, which he claims for Idealism, is owned by that common spiritual philosophy, which subordinates matter to mind....

[392] The many will call this book dreamy, and perhaps it is so -- It may indeed naturally seem, that the author's mind is somewhat onesided, that he has not mingled enough with common humanity, to avoid running into eccentricity, that he has been so careful to keep his own individuality, that he has confounded his idiosyncrasies, with universal truth. All this may be. But it is not for the vulgar many to call such a man a dreamer. If he does dream, the many are more deluded dreamers. His dreams are visions of the eternal realities of the spiritual world: theirs are of the fleeting phantoms of earth.

[393] He sees the world as it really is. He looks on the temporal in the light of the Eternal. "So he comes to look on the world with new eyes." So he learns the high truths which nature teaches.

Excerpts from: Samuel Osgood. "Nature." The Western Messenger, Vol. II, No. 6, January, 1837, pp. 385-393.

Notes on the author: Samuel Osgood (1812-1880), a Unitarian minister, was editor of The Western Messenger and was a member of the Transcendental Club. He was living in Louisville, Kentucky, at the time this article was published. He also wrote for magazines such as Harper's Monthly and The North American Review.


Jone Johnson
All rights

Contact us
for reprint

Transcendentalism ] Ralph Waldo Emerson ] Henry David Thoreau ] Others in the Circle ]
Home ] Discussions ] A Quote ] Posters ] Search ] Site Map ] What's New ] Symbol Key ] Contact Us ] Credits ]

How to cite this page: Plagiarism, Copyright and Citing Online Sources
Site or page last update and this page's URL:
Site editor's credentials

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More

Why Amazon.com links?

I do not write and maintain this site for a salary; my sole support for this site's expenses is the Amazon.com donation jar (above), and Amazon.com book links and other commercial links I've added to the site.  If you have Javascript enabled in your Internet browser, you'll see targeted suggestions on many of this site's pages. You can use the links to find books at the library or at your local bookstore, but buying books directly through the links on this site will help pay the cost of this site and help keep it online.

If you'd like to report an error or broken link, or suggest a link, please include this URL in your email: