Book Review: Nature


By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Copyright 1836

There is nothing more vital to humankind than the natural world, and nothing so abused and taken for granted.

Nature embraces us everyday with subtle wonders and delights. Nature nourishes and sustains our physical beings, and inspires and expands our minds and spirits.

And in this philosophical exploration of humanity’s relationship with the natural world. Emerson‘S thoughts carry readers from one application to another, analyzing our various practical and creative uses for nature. Chapters carry us upward from Nature as Commodity to Nature as Beauty; from its influence on Language and instruction in Discipline to the attainment of Idealism and Spirit.

We learn that Nature is more than the wallpaper of our lives. It is an instructor of morals, the provider of symbols for human language. As Emerson says:

Have mountains and waves and skies no significance but what we consciously give them, when we employ thems as emblems of our thoughts? The world is emblematic. Parts of speech are metaphors because the whole of nature is a metaphor of the human mind. The laws of moral nature answer to those of matter as face to face in a glass.

I found the sweeping currents of Emerson’s words to be an opening for my own contemplation and exploration of Nature. But the book is not an easy read. Writing in the meandering style of his time, the author expects his lines to be read more as poetry, to be savored and carefully chewed to extract every nuance of meaning.

Reading Nature is not a walk in the park, but a woodland hike meant to enliven and strengthen the adventurous heart. So glad I accepted the challenge.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Nature

  1. Nice. I’ve been watching a series by Ken Burns on Channel 9 PBS aired on Thursday evenings on the National Parks. It is so good.

    1. Great….there’s so much to learn about America, its landscapes, its people, and its foundational values. Thanks for reading and commenting, love you, Joanne *dancing children**swaying willows**yellow butterflies*

  2. So wonderful to come by and read your post about Nature and Emerson. Hope you are well, my beloved sweet Joan. Sending hugs and love across many oceans and delight of the heart. *Hugging stars* *Smiling willows*

    1. Oh, my beloved Krishnapriah, what a wondrous surprise to find you here this morning!My family is well…but the US is mired in distress. Please be in touch and let me know how you are all doing. Sending you hugs galore and much, much love. *singing rainbows**embracing children**dancing starshine*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s