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THE first two pieces in this volume are lectures from the “University Courses” on philosophy, given at Harvard College in 1870 and 1871, by persons not members of the Faculty. “The Natural History of the Intellect” was the subject which Emerson chose. He had, from his early youth, cherished the project of a new method in metaphysics, proceeding by observation of the mental facts, without attempting an analysis and coördination of them which must, from the nature of the case, be premature. With this view, he had, at intervals from 1848 to 1866, announced courses on the “Natural History of Intellect,” “The Natural Method of Mental Philosophy,” and “Philosophy for the People.” He would, he said, give anecdotes of the spirit, a calendar of mental moods, without any pretence of system.
None of these attempts, however, disclosed any novelty of method, or indeed, after the opening statement of his intention, any marked difference from his ordinary lectures. He had always been writing anecdotes of the spirit, and those which he wrote under this heading were used by him in subsequently published essays so largely that I find very little left for present publication. The lecture which gives its name to the volume was the first of the earliest course, and it seems to me to include all that distinctly belongs to the particular subject. The lecture on “Memory" is from the same course; that on “Boston’’ from the course on “Life and Literature,” in 1861. The other pieces are reprints from the “North American Review” and the “Dial.” To this final volume of Mr. Emerson's writings, an index to all the volumes has been appended. It was prepared by Professor John H. Woods, of Jacksonville, Illinois, but has undergone some alterations for which he is not responsible. J. E. CABOT. September 9, 1893.