Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist"

Julian Hawthorne's memoirs include reminiscences of Emerson. (Who Hawthorne? Nathaniel Hawthorne's son.)
We are told, for example, that Ralph Waldo Emerson, while he disapproved of laughter, did occasionally allow himself to smile, but he did so only with his eyes closed. "He disliked being conspicuous," Julian wrote, "and uniformly preferred conformity to anything conspicuous."
How much of Emerson's praise of non-conformity in his essays was meant to inspire himself?

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