H. G. Callaway
Temple University
The opening essay of Emerson’s 1860 book, The Conduct of Life, posed, in that fateful year of threatening Civil War and disunion, the philosophical problem of human freedom and fate. The essay “Fate” is followed in the present book by a series of essays on related themes, including: “Power,” “Wealth,” “Culture,” “Worship,” “Beauty” and “Illusions.” The central question of the volume is, “How shall I live?” Appreciating both our freedom and its limits, we understand the vitality of power to acquire what wealth is needed to scale the corrections and heights of culture and worship, find beauty in life and human society, wary still of the illusions. Overall, the book is a call for creative solutions. Yet the nation, in the year of Abraham Lincoln’s election, seemed fated to war or disunion in spite of all its dedication to freedom.
Keywords Emerson  Creativity  Conduct
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