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English Traits


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"English Traits" (1856), by American author Ralph Waldo Emerson, comprises an account of his English visits in 1833 and 1847, and a series of general observations on national character. It is the note-book of a philosophic traveller. In the earlier chapters, the sketches of his visits to Coleridge, Carlyle, and Wordsworth, while personal in some degree, reveal Emerson's character and humour in a delightful way. The trend of his mind to generalisation is evident in the titles given to the chapters. With the exception of 'Stonehenge' and 'The Times,' they are all abstract, -- 'Race,' 'Ability,' 'Character,' 'Wealth,' or 'Religion.' Far removed from provincialism, the tone is that of a beholder, kindred in race, who, while paying due respect to the stock from which he sprang, feels his own eyes purged of certain illusions still cherished by the Old World. These playthings, as it were, of a full-grown people, -- the court and church ceremonial, thrones, mitres, bewigged officials. Lord Mayor's shows, -- amused the observer.

"English Traits" remains unique as a searching analysis, full of generous admiration, of a foreign nation's racial temperament, by a strongly original individuality.

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Additional Info

  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Disabled
  • Print Length: 236 Pages
  • File Size: 1,941 KB

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