No one who has ever felt the life-changing pull of Emerson's enormous mind, has ever doubted his power or his greatness; though we are often puzzled to know whether he is primarily a poet, an essayist, or a philosopher.
Richard Geldard is not puzzled at all by this: he has written a book which plainly shows the essential Emerson to be a teacher, the Socrates of Massachusetts, a man with a message that we need to hear today. It is argued that previous generations 'beheld God and nature face to face' in contrast to modern life, where he suggests people seem able only to see those things through the eyes of earlier generations. Thus the question is raised: '... why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?'
Emerson's life was devoted to showing how one may still attain an original, that is to say, an authentic, relation to the universe. Geldard's book aims to focus and distill the famously diverse Emerson and put his central teachings within the scope of the modern reader.
The previous edition of this books was titled The Esoteric Emerson: the Spiritual Teachings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.