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Self-Reliance Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). Emerson’s life (1803-1882)  Born in Boston, descendant from a line of preacher ancestors  Father died.

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Presentation on theme: "Self-Reliance Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). Emerson’s life (1803-1882)  Born in Boston, descendant from a line of preacher ancestors  Father died."— Presentation transcript:

1 Self-Reliance Ralph Waldo Emerson ( )

2 Emerson’s life ( )  Born in Boston, descendant from a line of preacher ancestors  Father died when he was 8 years old  Harvard  A Unitarian pastor for 3 years  Travel in Europe and England  Settled at Concord, MA as an essayist, poet and public speaker  Leadership in the Transcendental Club  Preaching optimism, self-reliance and the infinite potentials of an individual

3 Emerson’s major works  Nature (1836)  The American Scholar (1837)  Divinity School Address (1838)  Essays: First Series (1841)  Essays: Second Series (1844)

4 Transcendentalism in 1830s-1840s  Transcend the limitation of pure reason and receive higher truths by intuition.  The divine intuition of an individual  the nature / the universal mind / the Over-Soul / God– the ultimate creator of truth, goodness and beauty

5 Self-Reliance  Divinity of human nature: a man is a part or parcel of the Over-Soul / God  Self-sufficiency of an individual

6 God – Creator – Divinity Ultimate Truth / Goodness / Beauty Self-Reliance Us – Created – innate Divinity / Goodness Intuition / Intuitive reason

7 Discussion  The passages you find amazing, inspiring, exciting, or confusing, puzzling, challenging.  Questions on p. 24  The major argument points of the excerpted essay

8 Emerson’s attitude to charity  He despises - insincere / hypocritical charity: “…Thy love afar is spite at home.” “…… 你对远处的爱就是 对家里恨。 ” (蒲隆译,三联书店) - alms-giving charity : “ foolish philanthropist” Cf. para. 1 on p. 20

9 Emerson’s “virtue”  Virtue, in the usual sense, is a piece of good action done on exceptional occasions as an expiation or apology of living, for a spectacle.  For Emerson, the real virtue is to be your genuine self. It is one’s intrinsic quality, not sth. demonstrated in actions. (Cf. para 1 on p. 21)

10 Consistency  Emerson dislikes consistency which in his opinion scares us from our self-trust. (Cf. para 2-4, p. 22)

11 Agreement of one’s actions  What is it? - harmony of an individual’s actions that appear varied or even contradictory to each other.  Why is it important? - so that one remains genuine, honest and natural in every action and thus one can be independent, self- trusting and act out one’s true self without being bound by the thought of being inconsistent with one’s past actions. (Cf. para 5, p.22 – para 1, p. 23)

12 Outline of Self-Reliance (excerpt)  Thesis: Whoso (Whoever) would be a man, must be a nonconformist. 谁要做人,决不能做一个顺 民(蒲隆译,下同)。  I. Why must we be a nonconformist?  II. Why is it difficult to be a nonconformist?  III. Do not be afraid to contradict yourself.  IV. Be a true man because it’s the true man / nonconformist /hero that makes history.

13 I. Why a nonconformist? a. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. 归根结底,除了你自己心灵的完善外,没有什么 神圣之物。 b. No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. 在我看来,除了我天性的法则而外,再没有什 么神圣的法则。

14 I. Why a nonconformist? c. The real virtue is to be yourself, trust yourself and rely on yourself. d. What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. 我必须要做的是与我有 关的事,而不是人们所想的事。 e. The objection to conforming to usages that have become dead to you is that it scatters your force. 之所以反对顺从一些对你来说已经僵死 的习俗,就因为这样做分散你的精力。

15 II. Why is it difficult to be a nonconformist? a. For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure. 由于不顺从,世人就对你横眉冷对,要对你横 加鞭笞。 b.The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency. 使我们不敢自信的另一个恐惧就在于我们总是 要求前后一致。

16 III. Do not be afraid to contradict yourself a.Never rely on your memory alone,… but to bring the past for judgment into the thousand- eyed present, and live ever in a new day. 决不一味依赖你的记忆, …… 而是把过去带进 众目睽睽的现在进行鉴定,并永远生活在新时 代里。

17 III. Do not be afraid to contradict yourself b. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. 愚蠢的一贯性是渺小心灵上的恶鬼,受到小政 客、小哲学家和小牧师的顶礼膜拜。

18 III. Do not be afraid to contradict yourself c. No man can violate his nature. 谁也不能违反自己的天性。 d. There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be (as long as they are) each honest and natural in their hour. 行为尽管千变万化,但只要每一次的行为既诚 实又自然,他们总会有一种一致性的。(金文 宁改译)

19 IV. Be a true man a. A true man is the centre of things. 一个真正的人是万事万物的中心。 b. Let a man know his worth, and keep things under his feet (Be confident and you’ll be the king / prince). 那就让一个人认清自己的价值,把万物踩在自 己的脚下。

20 IV. Be a true man c. Every man has the potential to be the king. 一个真正的人是万事万物的中心。 d. It’s other people’s loyalty and obedience that allow the king to have his own way. 国王之所以为王是因为别人忠实于和顺从他们 的意愿。

21 More quotations…  It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.  在世(界)上,按世人的观点生活容易;在隐 居时,按自己的想法生活也不难;可是伟人之 所以是伟人,就在于他在稠人广众之中尽善尽 美地保持了遗世独立的个性。

22 More quotations…  With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.  如果强求一成不变,伟大的灵魂就一事无成。  Every true man is a cause, a country, and an age.  每一个真正的人就是一个起因(事业),一个 国家,一个时代。

23 More quotations…  Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong what is against it.  好与坏只不过是一些名目,这儿那儿随便都可 以挪用。凡符合我性格的东西就是正确的,凡 违背我性格的东西都是错误的。

24 More quotations…  I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle.  我不想赎罪,只想生活,我生活是为了生活本 身,不是为了观瞻。

25 Assignments  Read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” (pp.10-17) closely with the help of dictionaries to a) find answers to the four questions on p. 16; b) identify the chief effect of the story and think about the devices used to achieve that effect; c) Take a horror story you’ve read or a horror movie you’ve watched as an example to describe what make(s) it horrible. Or if you like it, share with us the reason why you enjoy it; d) If you read a revenge story that you enjoyed very much, tell us what make(s) it a joyful reading.

26 Assignments  Review 序言( pp.1-5 )  Read Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” closely and think about 1. What is the significance of the setting? 2. What dramatic change happens to Goodman Brown? Why the change? 3. What is the theme of the story? 4. What are some of the major symbols?

27 Assignments for “Young Goodman Brown”  Read 序言 (para 1-3, p. 5)  Read Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” closely and do the following work: 1. Introduce the content of Mayflower Compact, its origin and significance. 2. What kind of story is Goodman Brown’s journey to the forest? Adapt it to a shorter fable according to your understanding. 3. Find key words in the story and explain their symbolic meanings.

28 Assignments  4. Replace key words in the story with words of a different system and change it to a new story ( 比如用佛教用语把它改成一个佛教故事,用当 代日常用语把它改成当代世俗故事); or translate the key words into Chinese which can transfer the original meaning most exactly. 或用 你认为最准确的中文来翻译故事中的关键词。


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