An Emersonian Glossary

by Jason Lafferty

Reading Ralph Waldo's Emerson's writings can lose much of their inspirational value if we don't have a basic understanding of some of the key words and ideas underlying his texts. Writing from a different century context about themes that have sometimes been described as "unintelligible" makes this kind of review almost imperative. Here then are descriptions of selected Emersonian terms and interpretations, being aware that through further reading, research, and internalization, we will fill out these descriptions and connections at a deeper level.


A grand Idea where the old cultural institutions of Europe could be radically reformed to justly serve the culture of the Individual.


the soul's action on the world; to educate the perception of beauty (Geldard)


the underlying likenesses of the beautiful (Geldard)


my manner of life (Geldard)


my office, where I work (Geldard)


a reserved force which acts directly by presence; a latent power (Geldard)


the positive centers of my actions (Geldard)

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