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By: Helen Keller (1880-1968)

The World I Live In by Helen Keller The World I Live In

The World I Live In by Helen Keller is a collection of essays that poignantly tells of her impressions of the world, through her sense of touch, smell, her imagination and dreams. My hand is to me what your hearing and sight together are to you. In large measure we travel the same highways, read the same books, speak the same language, yet our experiences are different. All my comings and goings turn on the hand as on a pivot. It is the hand that binds me to the world of men and women. The hand is my feeler with which I reach through isolation and darkness and seize every pleasure, every activity that my fingers encounter...

By: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Essays, First Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson Essays, First Series

“I do not wish to treat friendships daintily but with roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass beads or frost-work but the solidest thing we know....” is how Ralph Waldo Emerson saw the ties of friendship in one of his essays titled Friendship, more than a hundred years ago. This and other interesting essays are included in Essays First Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the distinguished American philosopher and writer. Apart from writing, he was also a very gifted and popular public speaker who toured the length and breadth of the country sharing his ideas with the larger public...

Essays, Second Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson Essays, Second Series

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) was an American essayist, philosopher, and poet, best remembered for leading the Transcendentalist movement of the mid 19th century. His teachings directly influenced the growing New Thought movement of the mid-1800s.

By: Founding Fathers of the United States

The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America by Founding Fathers of the United States The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America

Declaration of Independence is the document in which the Thirteen Colonies declared themselves independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain and explained their justifications for doing so. It was ratified by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

By: John Muir

Steep Trails by John Muir Steep Trails

A collection of Muir's previously unpublished essays, released shortly after his death. "This volume will meet, in every way, the high expectations of Muir's readers. The recital of his experiences during a stormy night on the summit of Mount Shasta will take rank among the most thrilling of his records of adventure. His observations on the dead towns of Nevada, and on the Indians gathering their harvest of pine nuts, recall a phase of Western life that has left few traces in American literature...

Stickeen by John Muir Stickeen

A great dog story, a well told tale — the naturalist and adventurer John Muir recounts how he and his companion, a dog named Stickeen, each, alone, confronted and conquered their fears of an icy Alaskan glacier in 1880.

By: William E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963)

The Souls of Black Folk by William E. B. Du Bois The Souls of Black Folk

“Few books make history and fewer still become the foundational texts for the movements and struggles of an entire people....” One such great work was The Souls of Black Folk by William EB Du Bois. Published in 1903, it is a powerful and hard-hitting view of sociology, race and American history. It became the cornerstone of the civil rights movement and when Du Bois attended the first National Negro Conference in 1909, he was already well-known as a proponent of full and unconditional equality for African Americans...

By: John Donne (1572-1631)

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions by John Donne Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions is a 1624 prose work by the English writer John Donne. It is a series of reflections that were written as Donne recovered from a serious illness, believed to be either typhus or relapsing fever. (Donne does not clearly identify the disease in his text.) The work consists of twenty-three parts describing each stage of the sickness. Each part is further divided into a Meditation, an Expostulation, and a Prayer. The seventeenth meditation is perhaps the best-known part of the work...

By: Joseph Trienens (b. 1863)

The Handy Cyclopedia of Things Worth Knowing by Joseph Trienens The Handy Cyclopedia of Things Worth Knowing

Written in 1910, this “cyclopedia” is full of information that was quite useful at the time. A hundred years later, its text is more humorous than practical — although some advice never goes out of style.

By: Andrew Murray (1828-1917)

Absolute Surrender and Other Addresses by Andrew Murray Absolute Surrender and Other Addresses

This is a series of short messages written by the South African minister, Andrew Murray. They deal with the necessity and joy of surrendering our lives completely to God.

By: Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

Common Sense by Thomas Paine Common Sense

First published anonymously due to its seditious content in 1776, the pamphlet argues for the need of American colonists to pursue complete independence from Great Britain, and not be driven simply by the urge to free themselves from unfair taxation. Paine provides argumentation for his revolutionary ideas, suggesting the unification of colonial forces to achieve this goal. Furthermore, Paine strengthens his case by clearly asserting the advantages that would come out as a result of independence, and further fortifies his argumentation with religious references...

By: Patrick Henry (1736-1799)

The Anti-Federalist Papers by Patrick Henry The Anti-Federalist Papers

During the period of debate over the ratification of the Constitution, numerous independent local speeches and articles were published all across the country. Initially, many of the articles in opposition were written under pseudonyms, such as “Brutus”, “Centinel”, and “Federal Farmer”. Eventually, famous revolutionary figures such as Patrick Henry came out publicly against the Constitution. They argued that the strong national government proposed by the Federalists was a threat to the rights of individuals and that the President would become a king...

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death

This speech was given March 23, 1775, at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, and is credited with having singlehandedly convinced the Virginia House of Burgesses to pass a resolution delivering the Virginia troops to the Revolutionary War. In attendance were Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Reportedly, the crowd, upon hearing the speech, jumped up and shouted, “To Arms! To Arms!”

By: Willa Sibert Cather (1873-1947)

Book cover Collection Of Stories, Reviews And Essays

Stories and essays by Willa Cather

By: Emma Goldman (1869-1940)

Anarchism and Other Essays by Emma Goldman Anarchism and Other Essays

Chicago, May 4, 1886. In the Haymarket region of the city, a peaceful Labor Day demonstration suddenly turns into a riot. The police intervene to maintain peace, but they soon use violence to quell the mob and a bomb is thrown, resulting in death and injuries to scores of people. In the widely publicized trial that followed, eight anarchists were condemned to death or life imprisonment, convicted of conspiracy, though none of them had actually thrown the bomb. A young Russian immigrant, Emma Goldman, had arrived just the previous year in the United States...

By: Frederick Douglass (c.1818-1895)

Book cover Collected Articles of Frederick Douglass

These two articles were reproduced as an e-book by Project Gutenberg in 2008 to supplement "...several articles by Frederick Douglass, whose larger work was presented in book form as a January, 1993 Project Gutenberg Etext to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day...." The articles narrated here are "My Escape From Slavery" (1881) and "Reconstruction" (1866).

By: Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

The Essays of Francis Bacon by Francis Bacon The Essays of Francis Bacon

Among the many ideas explored in this book are beauty, gardens, honor and reputation, cunning, nobility, friendship and many others. Authored by the man who is credited with having invented the essay form in English, The Essays of Francis Bacon was written over an extended period, ranging from the mid sixteenth century. They were compiled in a single edition in 1597 and later re-written, enlarged and added to in other editions in 1612 and 1625. However, their compelling and insightful quality still appears fresh and appealing to modern day readers...

By: Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

The Sadhana: Realisation of Life by Rabindranath Tagore The Sadhana: Realisation of Life

Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, philosopher, visual artist, playwright, composer, and novelist whose work reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He became Asia’s first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature. Sadhana is a collection of essays, most of which he gave before the Harvard University, describing Indian beliefs, philosophy and culture from different viewpoints, often making comparison with Western thought and culture.

By: Henry van Dyke

The Spirit of Christmas by Henry van Dyke The Spirit of Christmas

A collection of short Christmas works by the author of The Story of the Fourth Wise Man

By: Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

Book cover Culture and Anarchy

Culture and Anarchy is a series of periodical essays by Matthew Arnold, first published in Cornhill Magazine 1867-68 and collected as a book in 1869. The preface was added in 1875. Arnold's famous piece of writing on culture established his High Victorian cultural agenda which remained dominant in debate from the 1860s until the 1950s. According to his view advanced in the book, "Culture [...] is a study of perfection". He further wrote that: "[Culture] seeks to do away with classes; to make the best that has been thought and known in the world current everywhere; to make all men live in an atmosphere of sweetness and light [...

By: William James (1842-1910)

The Moral Equivalent of War by William James The Moral Equivalent of War

The Moral Equivalent of War, the last public utterance of William James, is significant as expressing the opinions of a practical psychologist on a question of growing popular interest. For the past fifteen years the movement for promoting international peace has been enlisting the support of organizations and individuals the world over. That this is a question on which much may be said for the opposition, James, though a pacificist, admits with his usual fair-mindedness, pointing out that militarism...

By: John Ruskin (1819-1900)

Lectures on Landscape by John Ruskin Lectures on Landscape

A series of lectures on landscape painting delivered at Oxford in 1871, by artist, critic, and social commentator, John Ruskin.

The Seven Lamps of Architecture by John Ruskin The Seven Lamps of Architecture

The Seven Lamps of Architecture, published in May 1849, is an extended essay written by the English art critic and theorist John Ruskin. The 'lamps' of the title are Ruskin's principles of architecture, which he later enlarged upon in the three-volume The Stones of Venice. To an extent, they codified some of the contemporary thinking behind the Gothic Revival. At the time of its publication A.W.N. Pugin and others had already advanced the ideas of the Revival and it was well under way in practice...

By: Thomas de Quincey (1785-1859)

Miscellaneous Essays by Thomas de Quincey Miscellaneous Essays

The Hunter Thompson of the 19th Century, de Quincey is best known for his Confessions of an English Opium Eater (an activity shared with his hero, Samuel Coleridge, much to Wordsworth’s dismay). However, de Quincey’s literary genius is best captured in his essays, and, according to Wikipedia: His immediate influence extended to Edgar Allan Poe, Fitz Hugh Ludlow and Charles Baudelaire, but even major 20th century writers such as Jorge Luis Borges admired and claimed to be partly influenced by his work.

By: Alexander Pope

An Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope An Essay on Criticism

An Essay on Criticism was the first major poem written by the English writer Alexander Pope (1688-1744). However, despite the title, the poem is not as much an original analysis as it is a compilation of Pope’s various literary opinions. A reading of the poem makes it clear that he is addressing not so much the ingenuous reader as the intending writer. It is written in a type of rhyming verse called heroic couplets.

By: Henry L. Mencken

Damn! A Book of Calumny by Henry L. Mencken Damn! A Book of Calumny

Henry Louis “H. L.” Mencken (1880 – 1956) was an American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, acerbic critic of American life and culture, and a student of American English. Known as the “Sage of Baltimore”, he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the 20th century. Mencken is perhaps best remembered today for The American Language, a multi-volume study of how the English language is spoken in the United States, and for his satirical reporting on the Scopes trial, which he named the “Monkey” trial.”

By: Irvin S. Cobb (1876-1944)

Cobb's Anatomy by Irvin S. Cobb Cobb's Anatomy

Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb was born on June 23, 1876. At seventeen years of age, he began writing for the Paducah Daily News, his hometown paper. At nineteen he became the managing editor; up to that point, our nation’s youngest. He worked as a columnist, a humorist and an author. But ‘horror,’ and ’short stories,’ are not why he is remembered. He is remembered because he was, and still is, funny. And although he is now dead–he died March 11, 1944–this work “Cobb’s Anatomy,” among others, has left an indelible mark upon mankind: a smile.

By: Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913)

Is Mars Habitable? by Alfred Russel Wallace Is Mars Habitable?

In 1907 Wallace wrote the short book Is Mars Habitable? to criticize the claims made by Percival Lowell that there were Martian canals built by intelligent beings. Wallace did months of research, consulted various experts, and produced his own scientific analysis of the Martian climate and atmospheric conditions. Among other things Wallace pointed out that spectroscopic analysis had shown no signs of water vapor in the Martian atmosphere, that Lowell’s analysis of Mars’ climate was seriously flawed and badly overestimated the surface temperature, and that low atmospheric pressure would make liquid water, let alone a planet girding irrigation system, impossible.

By: Fanny Dickerson Bergen (1846-1924)

Current Superstitions by Fanny Dickerson Bergen Current Superstitions

No matter how enlightened, chances are you’ve been raised around superstitious lore of one kind or another. Fanny Dickerson Bergen was one of the original researchers of North American oral traditions relating to such key life events and experiences as babyhood and childhood, marriage, wishes and dreams, luck, warts and cures, death omens and mortuary customs, and “such truck,” as Huck Finn would say. You’ll be surprised at how many of these old saws you’ll know. Here’s a quote from...

By: Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Book cover Case of Wagner / Nietzsche Contra Wagner / Selected Aphorisms

A collection of three of Nietzsche's writings concerning the music of Wagner. In particular, he relates Wagner's music as degenerate, unrefined and unintelligent and relates it to a gradually degenerating German culture and society. The translator provides a detailed introduction.

By: Francis Pharcellus Church (1839-1906)

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus by Francis Pharcellus Church Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus

“Is There A Santa Claus?” was the headline that appeared over an editorial in the September 21, 1897 edition of the New York Sun. The editorial, which included the response of “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus,” has become an indelible part of popular Christmas lore in the United States.

By: Hilaire Belloc

On Something by Hilaire Belloc On Something

“Now that story is a symbol, and tells the truth. We see some one thing in this world, and suddenly it becomes particular and sacramental; a woman and a child, a man at evening, a troop of soldiers; we hear notes of music, we smell the smell that went with a passed time, or we discover after the long night a shaft of light upon the tops of the hills at morning: there is a resurrection, and we are refreshed and renewed.” – Hilaire Belloc


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