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By Arthur S. Lothstein, Michael Brodrick

Essays and poems discover the modern relevance of Emerson's paintings and proposal.

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Example text

Hence symbolic experience is a flowing thing which stimulates the ascending life of intuitive thought, an experience which implies an organic union of spirit and nature, but of a type which permits thought to leave the things of material nature far behind. We should overlook neither the Stoic aspect of Emerson’s outlook nor the Platonic. It is the Stoic aspect which is in evidence when he plays up the organic relation which binds the human spirit to the universal scheme. But it is the Platonic aspect which shows itself in his view that man is the closest point of contact with a transcendent order which surrounds and envelopes nature.

To Emerson the whole modern sense of nature was illumined by his own outlook rather than by that of mechanistic philosophy. ” But, in that case, it is the function of the poet to remedy this defect, in helping us traverse the whole scale of experience. Yet if the poet is 14 Robert C. ” And through this vision men will easily understand why their contact with nature is able to arouse in them a spirit of reverence. ” Finally, they will be the grateful recipients of one of nature’s fairest gifts, namely, an “integrity of impression made by manifold objects,” and through which, for example, the stick of timber is distinguished from the tree of the poet.

Man, therefore, had to recall what in truth he is, a being who holds together within himself the “poles of the Universe,” and who is the very meeting place of spirit and nature. ” And there can be no doubt that Noyes has correctly singled out that in Emerson which more than anything else should enable us to enter more sympathetically into his thoughts and attitudes. As we have said, Emerson had no intention of loosening man’s vital connection with the material environment. He fully appreciated the positive aspects of the naturalism that had made its appearance in modern times.

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