By A. BRONSON ALCOTT. Boston : Roberts Brothers. I vol. 16mo. pp. 208.
THIS volume is divided into two parts : one containing a series of essays marked “ Practical ”; the other, a series of essays marked “ Speculative.” Taken together they give a fair impression of the author’s character and philosophy of life. They are open to ridicule, provided the critic is disposed to think that difference from himself is the proper test of the ridiculous ; but if he enters into the spirit of the writer, and condescends to take Mr. Alcott’s point of view, he will find his mind in contact with another intelligence of singular freshness, serenity, sweetness, and originality. Mr, Alcott is an idealist by disposition as well as by conviction. Ideas do not merely claim his assent, they suffice for his existence. He seeks them as other persons seek fortune, social position, or fame. To him they are all in all, — the nutriment, comfort, exaltation, consolation of life. Over every essay in the volume there breathes an atmosphere of composure and satisfaction, as if the writer had found the one thing or the many things needful for a reasonable being’s existence. His faith in high thinking is unshakable, unmarred by the slightest fretfulness, or impatience, or combativeness, or greed of sympathy, oranger at not being recognized. He seems to have continual experience of
“ That content surpassing wealth,
The sage in meditation found,
And walked with inward glory crowned.
This character of Mr. Alcott is impressed on his writings, and lends them a certain beneficent charm, even when we are inclined to question the truth or the novelty of his opinions. His amenity of manner is a kind of genius in itself, and in his essays on “ The Garden,” “ Recreation,” “ Friendship,” “Culture,” “Books,” and “Counsels,” it is specially apparent. In these, also, two things are displayed which go far to make up the happiness of life, namely, fellowship with nature, and the power of connecting high thoughts with lowly objects.

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