The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson - by R.W. Emerson Institute, Jim Manley, Director -

Glossary for Emerson’s Nature

Aeolian Harp
The aeolian harp is a shallow box
zither about 1-1.5 m (3-5 ft) long, strung with multiple strings of the same
length but of different thicknesses and tuned in unison. The harp is suspended
where the wind will set the strings in motion; the wind force and the different
diameters of the strings cause the eddies of air immediately downwind to vary
considerably, which in turn causes variations in tone. Thus, the harp produces
strange, ghostly sequences of harmonies, swelling and diminishing with the
strength of the wind. Named for AEOLUS, god of the winds, the aeolian harp
originated in the 17th century and achieved its greatest popularity in the
romantic era. ROBERT A. WARNER


Allegheny Mountains
The Allegheny Mountains, extending more than
800 km (500 mi) from central Pennsylvania to central West Virginia and
southwestern Virginia, mark the eastern edge of the high Allegheny Plateau,
which is the western part of the Appalachian mountain system. The highest peak
is Spruce Knob in West Virginia (1,481 m/4,860 ft). The ridges are covered with
forests of conifers and hardwoods, including oak, maple, and hickory. Huge
deposits of coal are mined in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The barrier of the
Alleghenies delayed westward expansion of the early North American coastal
settlements, and the region was not occupied until late in the 18th
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An angel (Greek: angelos, "messenger") is a celestial being
believed to function as a messenger or agent of God in CHRISTIANITY, ISLAM,
JUDAISM, and ZOROASTRIANISM. In the Near Eastern antecedents to Judaism, angels
were often understood to be gods or lesser divinities. Their existence was taken
for granted by the biblical authors. The use of the word angel may have been a
way of describing what was believed to be an appearance of God himself in human
In the Old Testament, angels are called "messengers," "men," "powers,"
"princes," "sons of God," and the "heavenly host." They either have no body or
one that is only apparent. They come as God's messengers to aid or punish, are
assigned to individual persons or nations, and often have a name (Michael,
Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel). New Testament statements about angels reflect Jewish
views of these beings. Angels, for example, announced Christ's birth (Luke 2)
and resurrection (Matt. 28).

Ancient and medieval peoples widely accepted the influence of good spirits,
or angels, and evil spirits, or fallen angels (see DEMON; SATAN). During the
Middle Ages, theologians developed a hierarchy of angels. They were classified
in the following nine ranks (beginning with the lowest): angels, archangels,
principalities, powers, virtues, dominations, thrones, cherubim, and seraphim.
Angels are a popular subject in folklore, literature, and art. ANTHONY J.

Bibliography: Davidson, Gustav, A Dictionary of Angels (1967); Field, M. J.,
Angels and Ministers of Grace (1972); Heidt, W. G., Angelology of the Old
Testament (1949); Regamey, Raymond, What Is an Angel?, trans. by Mark Pontifex


In Greek mythology, Apollo and his twin sister, ARTEMIS,
were the children of ZEUS and LETO and were born on the island of DELOS. Hence,
Apollo was often called the Delian god, and Delos long remained a center of his
worship. He was also identified closely with DELPHI, in central Greece, where he
killed the serpent PYTHON and founded the most renowned center for prophecy in
the ancient world, the shrine of the Delphic Oracle. Areas of special concern to
Apollo were prophecy, medicine, the fine arts, archery, beauty, flocks and
herds, law, courage, and wisdom. Associated with him were the tripod, omphalos
(a beehive-shaped stone at Delphi, designating that spot as the center or navel
of the Earth), lyre, bow and arrows, laurel wreath, palm tree, wolf, hawk, crow,
and fawn. Although Apollo was not Greek in origin, he became, next to Zeus, the
god most revered by the Greeks and the god who best embodied the Greek spirit.
Later he became confused with the sun-god HELIOS and was considered the god of
light. Of Apollo's many loves, one of the best known was DAPHNE, who fled his
embraces and was turned into his tree, the laurel. From that time on, Apollo
wore a laurel wreath. Laurel wreaths became the prize awarded in athletic and
musical competitions. ASCLEPIUS, a son of Apollo, became the god of medicine;
another son, Linus, was a renowned music teacher. In Roman mythology, Apollo
represented the literary and fine arts, culture, and the law. Augustus (r. 31
BC-AD 14) built a magnificent temple to him and included in it two public
libraries, one for Greek works and another for Latin works. Apollo was a
favorite subject for artists of every medium. The walls of his temple at Delphi
bore two Greek maxims, "Know Thyself" and "Nothing in Excess."


Campagna di Roma
(or Roman Campagna)
Region of central Italy
around Rome.
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary

Como, Lake
Lake Como, part of Italy's scenic Lake District, is located in
Lombardy, in northern Italy. Covering 145 sq km (56 sq mi), Como–Italy's third
largest lake–is about 50 km (30 mi) long but only 5 km (3 mi) wide. The lake is
of glacial origin and is nestled in a basin surrounded by Alpine ranges. The
southern half of Como splits into two arms separated by Bellagio Promontory.
Como is fed principally by the Adda River, which enters from the northeast. Long
famous as a tourist center, the lake is ringed by resorts including Como and
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The ancient Parthian and Sassanian city
of Ctesiphon, now bisected by the Tigris, lies about 32 km (20 mi) southeast of
Baghdad, Iraq. The site became important during the 1st century BC as the winter
residence of the Parthian ARSACID dynasty, but before that time had been no more
than an army camp on the east bank of the river, opposite the Greek city of
Seleucia. Both cities were sacked (AD 165) by the Romans, but Ctesiphon survived
to become the great winter capital of the SASSANIANS. The city was conquered by
the Arabs in 637 and remained occupied until at least the 13th century.

The most important surviving monument is the Taq-Kisra, the great vaulted
hall of the Sassanian palace, now under restoration. Probably built by KHOSRU I
(r. 531-79), the hall, 37 m (121 ft) high and over 25 m (82 ft) wide, is open at
one end and originally faced a large courtyard of which only one of the adjacent
facades remains. Its huge single-span vault of unreinforced brickwork, known as
the Arch of Ctesiphon, is among the finest architectural achievements of the
Sassanians. German investigations were carried out between 1928 and 1932;
ongoing Italian excavations were begun in 1964. KATE FIELDEN

Bibliography: Lloyd, Seton, Twin Rivers, 3d ed. (1961).


In Roman mythology, Diana was originally a forest and
woodland deity to whom the hind and the cypress were sacred. Later, she was
identified with the Greek goddess ARTEMIS and was known as an ardent huntress,
patron of women, and chaste goddess of the moon. The temples of Diana at Nemi
and Ephesus were important centers of her cult. In art she is represented as a
huntress with a quiver and bow, accompanied by a deer or a hound.
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The Dorians were a Greek-speaking people,
classified by their dialect, who migrated into Greece sometime after 1200 BC by
way of ancient Illyria, Epirus, and northeastern Macedonia. Their use of the
iron sword may have helped to bring an end to the AEGEAN CIVILIZATION of the
Mycenaeans, which otherwise was far superior to their own.

The Dorians consisted of three tribal groups: Hylleis, Dymanes, and
Pamphyloi. They settled in Crete and in much of the Peloponnesus, principally
Messenia, Laconia, and the Argolid. Later they colonized some of the Aegean
islands, southeastern Asia Minor, and the island of Rhodes. The Dorians
themselves considered Doris, north of modern Amfissa in central Greece, their
homeland, and they claimed descent from the sons of Hercules.

Charles W. Fornara

Bibliography: Fine, John V., The Ancient Greeks (1983); Huxley, G. L., Early
Sparta (1962).

Emerson, Ralph Waldo
The American lecturer, essayist, and poet,
Ralph Waldo Emerson, b. May 25, 1803, d. Apr. 27, 1882, is generally considered
the leading exponent of American TRANSCENDENTALISM. The son of a Boston
Unitarian minister, Emerson followed in his father's footsteps by attending the
Boston Latin School (1812-17) and Harvard College (1817-21). After running a
school for young women, Emerson returned (1825) to Harvard to study divinity and
was licensed to preach the next year. Suffering from tuberculosis, he sailed to
Charleston, S.C., and St. Augustine, Fla., in late 1826. When he returned to
Boston, he preached from various pulpits before being ordained (1829) pastor of
the prestigious Second Unitarian Church in Boston. In September 1829 he married
Ellen Louisa Tucker. After Ellen's death in February 1831, Emerson underwent a
religious and personal crisis, and the next year he resigned his pulpit and
sailed for Europe. There he met William Wordsworth and Thomas Carlyle, forming a
lifelong friendship with the latter.
After his return to the United States in
1833, Emerson moved (1834) to Concord, Mass. In 1835 he married Lydia Jackson
and began a successful career as a lecturer. He soon became one of the leaders
of the transcendental movement, questioning the established views of literature,
philosophy, and religion. He helped to start the Transcendental Club in 1836 and
published Nature (1836), a book showing the organicism of all life and the
function of nature as a visible manifestation of invisible spiritual truths. In
1837 he delivered his address, "The AMERICAN SCHOLAR," often called America's
literary declaration of independence, before Harvard's Phi Beta Kappa Society;
in 1838 his address before the Harvard Divinity School challenged the very
foundations of conservative UNITARIANISM. He cofounded (1840) the
transcendentalists' periodical, the Dial, and edited it from 1842 until its
collapse in 1844. Emerson established himself during the next decade with the
publication of Essays (2 vols., 1841, 1844), Poems (1847), Nature: Addresses and
Lectures (1849), and Representative Men (1850). By 1850 he was becoming known as
the "sage of Concord," and his ensuing lectures and books met with public
success. English Traits (1856) analyzed English society and compared it to
American society, and The Conduct of Life (1860) showed his growing
conservatism, as he balanced his earlier belief in freedom against the
"beautiful necessity" of fate. Emerson died a famous and honored man.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo–ESSAYS
A seminal figure in American literary
history, Emerson exerted great influence on his contemporaries, both by his
financial support of them, as of A. Bronson Alcott, and by his intellectual
companionship, as with his Concord neighbor, Henry David THOREAU. Emerson's
essays contain his most famous writing. In "Self-Reliance" he tells man to trust
himself against a society that "everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood
of every one of its members." He holds that "nothing can bring you peace but
yourself." In "Compensation" Emerson asserts that in the nature of the soul is
"the compensation for the inequalities of condition." In "Friendship" Emerson
recommends truth and tenderness as the basis of genuine friendship.
shows the interconnectedness of all life in an almost pantheistic view of
god-in-matter in "The Over-Soul." "The Poet" lists Emerson's qualifications for
the artist who is "the sayer, the namer, and represents beauty." "Experience"
describes the "lords of Life" that form man's existence: illusion, temperament,
succession, surface, surprise, reality, and subjectiveness. These optimistic
early essays are balanced by conservatism in Emerson's later work, best
illustrated in "Fate" (1860). Here, Emerson warns of a "pistareen-Providence"
that keeps man from seeing and facing "the terror of life." He says, "Nature is
no sentimentalist,–does not cosset or pamper us. We must see that the world is
rough and surly, and will not mind drowning a man or a woman, but swallows your
ship like a grain of dust. . . . The way of Providence is a little rude. We
cannot whitewash this fact." Emerson also balances his earlier belief in
absolute freedom by tempering it with fate or necessity, now holding that the
natural order of things, which once served merely to guide man, now limits him
and prevents him from destroying it as well: "If we thought man were free in the
sense that in a single exception one fantastical will could prevail over the law
of things, it were all one as if a child's hand could pull down the sun."

Emerson, Ralph Waldo–INFLUENCE
Emerson's discussions of organic
form (everything proceeds from a natural order that is followed but not imposed
by man), self-reliance, optimism (evil does not exist as an actual force, being
merely the absence of good), compensation, universal unity (or the Over-Soul),
and the importance of individual moral insight were all influential in forming
the literature and philosophy of 19th-century America. In poetry too Emerson was
an important force. His organic theory of poetry ("it is not meters, but a
meter-making argument that makes a poem") and his view of poets as "liberating
gods" or prophets did much to counteract the poetic conservatism of his day. It
led to the experimental verse of Walt Whitman, who once hailed Emerson as his
Emerson was the most important figure of the American romantic
period. He inspired optimistic transcendentalists such as Thoreau and provided a
challenge to authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, who
believed in the "power of blackness." JOEL MYERSON

Bibliography: Allen, Gay., Waldo Emerson (1981); Bishop, Jonathan, Emerson on
the Soul (1964); Burkholder, R.E., and Myerson, Joel, eds., Critical Essays on
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1983); Cabot, James Elliott, A Memoir of Ralph Waldo
Emerson, 2 vols. (1887; repr. 1969); Cady, E.H., and Budd, L.J., eds., On
Emerson (1988); Derleth, August, Emerson, Our Contemporary (1970); Ellison, J.,
Emerson's Romantic Style (1984); Emerson, Edward W., ed., The Complete Works of
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 12 vols. (1903-04); Hodder, A.D., Emerson's Rhetoric of
Revelation (1989); Hopkins, Vivian C., Spires of Form: A Study of Emerson's
Aesthetic Theory (1951; repr. 1980); Matthiessen, F.O., American Renaissance
(1941; repr. 1968); Paul, Sherman, Emerson's Angle of Vision (1952; repr. 1980);
Poirier, Richard, The Renewal of Literature (1988); Porte, Joel, Emerson (1982);
Robinson, David, Apostle of Culture (1982); Rosenwald, Lawrence, Emerson and the
Art of Diary (1988); Staebler, Warren, Ralph Walso Emerson (1973); Van Leer,
David, Emerson's Epistemology (1986); Whicher, Stephen, Freedom and Fate: An
Inner Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 2d ed. (1953); Yannella, Donald, Ralph Waldo
Emerson (1982).


Gabriel (angel)
The angel Gabriel, an important figure in the
Bible, appears first in the Book of Daniel (chapters 8 and 9) as a messenger and
revealer. In the New Testament he announces the births of John the Baptist and
Jesus Christ (Luke 1), and in the Book of Enoch, part of the pseudepigrapha, he
is one of the seven archangels who stand close to God. Later Christian tradition
made him the trumpeter of the Last Judgment. A popular figure in art, Gabriel is
often pictured appearing to Mary or with trumpet raised. In Islam he is Jibril,
the principal of many tales, who revealed the Koran to Muhammad. ANTHONY J.
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Madeira Islands
The Madeira Islands, a volcanic
archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean 645 km (400 mi) west of Morocco, constitute
the Madeira Autonomous Region of Portugal. They comprise the inhabited islands
of Madeira and Porto Santo and the uninhabited Desertas and Selvagens, having a
total land area of 798 sq km (308 sq mi) and a population of 273,200 (1989
est.). FUNCHAL, the capital and largest town, is on Madeira.

Madeira, the largest and most important island, is mountainous with a
subtropical climate. Sugarcane and tropical fruits are grown. The island is
famous for its wine and for the embroidery and wickerwork produced; it is also a
popular resort. On Porto Santo Island, northeast of Madeira, wheat, barley, and
grapes are cultivated.

Explored by Phoenicians and Genoese, the islands were colonized in 1420 by
Portuguese sponsored by Prince Henry the Navigator.


Eden, Garden of
In the Bible, the Garden of Eden was the original
home of ADAM and EVE. It was a well-watered garden with beautiful trees. Also
called Paradise, Eden symbolized the unbroken harmony between God and humankind
before the first sin, after which, according to Genesis 3, Adam and Eve were
expelled from the garden.

The period or state of being a novice
house where novices are trained
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary

Town in southwest Cyprus on coast 10 mi (16 km)
west-northwest of site of ancient city of Paphos.
Webster's Ninth New
Collegiate Dictionary

Valley (Vale of Tempe) in northeast Thessaly between mounts
Olympus and Ossa.
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary

Thessaly is a historic region of Greece.
It occupies the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula and is bounded by
Macedonia to the north, the Aegean Sea to the east, ancient Aetolia to the
south, and the upland Epirus to the west. The major city is Larisa. Thessaly
encompasses the two largest plains of Greece, where fertile soils support grain,
tobacco, and vegetable crops.

Thessaly's name comes from the Thessali, a Dorian people from Epirus who
conquered the region before 1000 BC and ruled through powerful military
families. From the 6th century BC these families joined in a loose military
confederation. Philip II of Macedonia entered Thessaly in 353 BC and gradually
subjugated the region. Thessaly became a Roman protectorate in 197 BC and part
of the province of Macedonia in 146 BC. Slavs, Arabs, Bulgarians, Normans, and
Walachians invaded and settled Byzantine Thessaly between the 7th and 13th
centuries. The region was ruled by the Turks from the end of the 14th century to
1881, when most of it was ceded to Greece. Thessaly roughly corresponds to the
modern Greek departments of Karditsa, Larisa, Magnisia, and Trikala.

Bibliography: Hansen, Hazel D., Early Civilization in Thessaly (1933).


One of the four archangels named in Hebrew
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary

Versailles, Palace of
The Palace of Versailles, for more than 100 years
(1682-1790) the official residence of the kings of France, was in its heyday the
most elegant and sumptuous palace in Europe, one that was envied and imitated by
many foreign rulers. Originally a royal hunting lodge, the Versailles complex
was rebuilt and greatly expanded (from 1669) by King Louis XIV, who commissioned
Louis LE VAU to create a great palace that would provide a suitable setting for
the ceremonies of the royal court. Le Vau's splendid monument to the French
classical style of the mid-17th century is complemented by the extraordinary
formal GARDENS laid out by Andre Le Notre, who arranged innumerable statues,
vases, and fountains throughout the grounds. The gardens also contain subsidiary
palaces, including the Grand Trianon (1687) and the PETIT TRIANON (1762-70). The
classicist Charles LE BRUN supervised the decoration of the palace's interior,
which retains its sumptuous and grandiose appearance despite the melting down
(1689) of the original silver furniture to pay for Louis XIV's wars. Typical of
the lavishness of the interior decoration is the dazzling and hugely expensive
Hall of Mirrors (begun 1678).
Le Vau's original design was expanded by Jules
HARDOUIN-MANSART, who, with Robert de COTTE, designed the impressive Royal
Chapel (1689-1710) and added rooms in a lighter baroque style. During the 18th
century many other interiors were redecorated in the rococo and Louis XVI
styles. The last major addition (1757-70) to the palace was Ange Jacques
Gabriel's (see GABRIEL family) enchanting opera house, which is famous for its
illusionistic mirrors. After the French Revolution, during which the palace was
stripped of most of its furnishings, Versailles gave way to the Tuileries in
Paris as the royal residence. Louis Philippe designated Versailles a national
museum, and intensive restoration work during this century has re-created some
of the palace's former grandeur.

Bibliography: Dunlop, Ian, Versailles (1950; repr. 1970); Van der Kamp,
Gerald, Versailles: Palace of the Sun King (1978).


In the broadest sense a zither is a stringed instrument
consisting basically of a string or strings stretched over a bar, board, tube,
half-tube, or box. Its history spans the history of civilization in all eras and
most regions of the world. Near-Eastern prototypes furnished important art
instruments in both the East and West, notably the qanon, chin, koto, PSALTERY,
and DULCIMER. Generically, the zither includes the CLAVICHORD, HARPSICHORD, and
The term is now customarily applied to folk box-zithers of the
Alps–long, generally rectangular resonance boxes with a large center
sound-hole, supporting, over a fretted fingerboard, melody strings played with a
ring plectrum on the right thumb, and up to 37 accompanying strings plucked by
the second, third, and fourth fingers. The instrument is placed horizontally in
front of the player. Typically its music is folk melody accompanied by simple
chords. Many related forms are found in northern Europe. ROBERT A. WARNER

Bibliography: Baines, Anthony, ed., Musical Instruments through the Ages,
rev. ed. (1975); Marcuse, Sybil, Survey of Musical Instruments (1975); Panum,
Hortense, Stringed Instruments of the Middle Ages, ed. by Jeffrey Pulver (1939).

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The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson