“Emerson and Antaeus, the Broken Giant” feat. in the Transparent Eyeball

Last month, the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society published my blog post in “The Transparent Eyeball” series. The post is about Emerson’s use of the wrestling giant Antaeus to demonstrate the gravity and importance of maintaining a connection with nature.

“Emerson advocates, across his oeuvre but especially in his 1833 lecture on ‘The Uses of Natural History,’ and again in 1841 in the essay ‘History,’ communing with nature as a habit of both mind and body. He writes, ‘Man is the broken giant, and in all his weakness he is invigorated by touching his mother earth, that is, by habits of conversation with nature’ (251) [emphasis added]. The reference is to the Greek god Antaeus, who drew his strength from his mother, Gaia. Antaeus was a champion wrestler, always rejuvenated by touching the earth below his feet, until he was defeated by Hercules, who successfully prevented Antaeus from touching his feet to the ground during their match…”

Read the full post here.

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