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This essay reclaims "Thoughts on Art" as Emerson's principal statement about art as part of a general theory of action and creation. It argues that Emerson viewed art as a question of degree, something more or less present in individual artworks. It explores the tension between Emerson's idea that art is created by Spirit and the fact that it is created by artists, and defends Emerson against the charge that, on his view, the artist deserves no credit for his work. Artistic talent and genius overcome obstacles posed by nature and further the artist's pursuit of self-knowledge.