Some Insights on Emerson’s Journals

From Philip Lopate, “Between Insanity and Fat Dullness: How I Became an Emersonian,” Harper’s, Jan, 2011, pp. 67-73.

“At these journals’ core is Emerson’s sense that it is crucial to record one’s fugitive ideas – to note ‘the meteorology of thought’. He was indeed the weatherman of his own consciousness, charting his moods just as he observed on walks the changing aspects of nature and sky. What I respond most to in Emerson is his even-keeled preoccupation with daily life, the daily mental round, and with that his resistance to the bullying closures of the apocalyptic imagination. … Following in the footsteps of Plato and Montaigne, Emerson asserted that ‘the purpose of life seems to be to acquaint a man with himself.’ ” p. 68

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