In July 1839 Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his journal: “A lecture is a new literature… only then is the orator successful when he is himself agitated & is as much a hearer as any of the assembly. In that office you may & shall…yet see the electricity part from the cloud & shine from one part of heaven to the other.”
In this final volume of the early lectures we see the mature lecturer, directing himself toward that eloquence to which he aspired and finding a new vocation. With these lectures—ten from the series “Human Life,” nine from the series “The Present Age,” the “Address to the People of East Lexington,” and two surviving lectures from the series “The Times”—Emerson produced virtually all his earned income from 1838–1842. The volume includes a biographical and critical introduction. A comprehensive index has been carefully prepared for the three volumes.