The papers in this book are not intended in any way to be professional treatises. They must be viewed in the light of entertaining conversations. Their possible value lies in their directness of impulse, and not in weight of argument. I could not wish to go into the qualities of art more deeply. A reaction, to be pleasant, must be simple. This is the apology I have to offer: Reactions, then, through direct impulse, and not essays by means of stiffened analysis.
fairy tale. I had early made the not so inane decision that I would not read a book until I really wanted to. One of the rarest women in the world, having listened to my remark, said she had a book she knew I would like because it was so different, and forthwith presented me with Emerson's Essays, the first book that I have any knowledge of reading, and it was in my eighteenth year. Until then I had been wholly absorbed with the terrors and the majestical inferences of the moment, the hour, and the day. I was alone with them, and they were wonderful and excessively baffling in their splendors; then, after filling my mind and soul with the legendary splendors of Friendship, and The Oversoul-Circles, and Compensation, each of these words of exciting largeness in themselves, I turned to the dramatic unrealities of Zarathustra, which, of course, was in no way to be believed because it did not exist. And then came expansion and release into the outer world again through interpretation of Plato, and of Leaves of G
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