The Rarity of the Beautiful
Accidental, ungrounded, inexplicable, unjustified, such is the phenomenology of the beautiful in Emerson’s poem “The Rhodora.” The flower is a gratuitous rarity; it is easy to miss, hard to justify, its charm is wasting away in the arc of our lives’ passage from the material to the immaterial. The poem is an apology for the rarity of a common shrub — and of the poem about it — but Emerson presents this apology not just in the service of the flower and of the poem but also as an aesthetic justification of human existence. Although common as shrubs, we too have considerable rarity.
KeywordsHuman Existence Century Prose Good Deed Black Water Common Shrub
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