True friendship is a rare possession, a gift to be treasured.
We have many acquaintances, but few who accept us – and whom we accept – with a wholehearted and unjudging loyalty, with whom we can be completely ourselves, unguarded in what we say or do, whom we can trust as we trust ourselves.
This is the precious quality which R.W. Emerson celebrates in his famous essay, published in his first collection in 1841. The essence of friendship, he says, is “entireness, a total magnanimity and trust. A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I do with my friends as I do with my books. I would have them where I can find them, but I seldom use them.”
The extracts in this beautiful little gift book have been carefully chosen to highlight the essential nature of a relationship that is beyond price, and the drawings by Richard Allen perfectly complement the mood of the text on each page. As a present for a dear and valued friend, there could be no more charming way of expressing one’s appreciation.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, the celebrated American philosopher and poet, was born in Massachusetts in 1803. Educated at Harvard, he studied theology and was ordained, but abandoned his career as a pastor owing to his unorthodox views. He visited England in 1833, meeting Coleridge, Wordsworth and Carlyle (with whom he established a long friendship) and on his return to America began a career of lecturing and writing. His first volume of essays, including ‘Friendship’ was published in 1841, followed by a second volume of poems and lectures. He did much to influence American intellectual independence. He died in 1882.