Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 - April 27, 1882)
Born: 25th May, 1803
Died: 27th April, 1882
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Poet
Region: Boston, Massachusetts
Literary movement: Individualism, Mysticism
Notable works: "Self-Reliance", "Address at Divinity College", "Poems", "Representative Men", "Nature", "Essays", "English Traits", "The Conduct of Life", "The American Scholar"
Types of literature: Poems, Essay

Ralph Waldo Emerson Facts

Biography

Ralph Waldo Emerson, (born May 25, 1803, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.—died April 27, 1882, Concord, Massachusetts), American lecturer, poet, and essayist, the leading exponent of New England Transcendentalism.

Early life and works

Emerson was the son of the Reverend William Emerson, a Unitarian clergyman and friend of the arts. The son inherited the profession of divinity, which had attracted all his ancestors in direct line from Puritan days. The family of his mother, Ruth Haskins, was strongly Anglican, and among influences on Emerson were such Anglican writers and thinkers as Ralph Cudworth, Robert Leighton, Jeremy Taylor, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

On May 12, 1811, Emerson’s father died, leaving the son largely to the intellectual care of Mary Moody Emerson, his aunt, who took her duties seriously. In 1812 Emerson entered the Boston Public Latin School, where his juvenile verses were encouraged and his literary gifts recognized. In 1817 he entered Harvard College, where he began his journals, which may be the most remarkable record of the “march of Mind” to appear in the United States. He graduated in 1821 and taught school while preparing for part-time study in the Harvard Divinity School. Though Emerson was licensed to preach in the Unitarian community in 1826, illness slowed the progress of his career, and he was not ordained to the Unitarian ministry at the Second Church, Boston, until 1829. There he began to win fame as a preacher, and his position seemed secure. In 1829 he also married Ellen Louisa Tucker. When she died of tuberculosis in 1831, his grief drove him to question his beliefs and his profession. But in the previous few years Emerson had already begun to question Christian doctrines. His older brother William, who had gone to Germany, had acquainted him with the new biblical criticism and the doubts that had been cast on the historicity of miracles. Emerson’s own sermons, from the first, had been unusually free of traditional doctrine and were instead a personal exploration of the uses of spirit, showing an idealistic tendency and announcing his personal doctrine of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. Indeed, his sermons had divested Christianity of all external or historical supports and made its basis one’s private intuition of the universal moral law and its test a life of virtuous accomplishment. Unitarianism had little appeal to him by now, and in 1832 he resigned from the ministry.

Mature life and works

When Emerson left the church, he was in search of a more certain conviction of God than that granted by the historical evidences of miracles. He wanted his own revelation—i.e., a direct and immediate experience of God. When he left his pulpit he journeyed to Europe. In Paris he saw Antoine-Laurent de Jussieu’s collection of natural specimens arranged in a developmental order that confirmed his belief in man’s spiritual relation to nature. In England he paid memorable visits to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and Thomas Carlyle. At home once more in 1833, he began to write Nature and established himself as a popular and influential lecturer. By 1834 he had found a permanent dwelling place in Concord, Massachusetts, and in the following year he married Lydia Jackson and settled into the kind of quiet domestic life that was essential to his work.

The 1830s saw Emerson become an independent literary man. During this decade his own personal doubts and difficulties were increasingly shared by other intellectuals. Before the decade was over his personal manifestos—Nature, “The American Scholar,” and the divinity school Address—had rallied together a group that came to be called the Transcendentalists, of which he was popularly acknowledged the spokesman. Emerson helped initiate Transcendentalism by publishing anonymously in Boston in 1836 a little book of 95 pages entitled Nature. Having found the answers to his spiritual doubts, he formulated his essential philosophy, and almost everything he ever wrote afterward was an extension, amplification, or amendment of the ideas he first affirmed in Nature.

Emerson’s religious doubts had lain deeper than his objection to the Unitarians’ retention of belief in the historicity of miracles. He was also deeply unsettled by Newtonian physics’ mechanistic conception of the universe and by the Lockean psychology of sensation that he had learned at Harvard. Emerson felt that there was no place for free will in the chains of mechanical cause and effect that rationalist philosophers conceived the world as being made up of. This world could be known only through the senses rather than through thought and intuition; it determined men physically and psychologically; and yet it made them victims of circumstance, beings whose superfluous mental powers were incapable of truly ascertaining reality.

Emerson reclaimed an idealistic philosophy from this dead end of 18th-century rationalism by once again asserting the human ability to transcend the materialistic world of sense experience and facts and become conscious of the all-pervading spirit of the universe and the potentialities of human freedom. God could best be found by looking inward into one’s own self, one’s own soul, and from such an enlightened self-awareness would in turn come freedom of action and the ability to change one’s world according to the dictates of one’s ideals and conscience. Human spiritual renewal thus proceeds from the individual’s intimate personal experience of his own portion of the divine “oversoul,” which is present in and permeates the entire creation and all living things, and which is accessible if only a person takes the trouble to look for it. Emerson enunciates how “reason,” which to him denotes the intuitive awareness of eternal truth, can be relied upon in ways quite different from one’s reliance on “understanding”—i.e., the ordinary gathering of sense-data and the logical comprehension of the material world. Emerson’s doctrine of self-sufficiency and self-reliance naturally springs from his view that the individual need only look into his own heart for the spiritual guidance that has hitherto been the province of the established churches. The individual must then have the courage to be himself and to trust the inner force within him as he lives his life according to his intuitively derived precepts.

Obviously these ideas are far from original, and it is clear that Emerson was influenced in his formulation of them by his previous readings of Neoplatonist philosophy, the works of Coleridge and other European Romantics, the writings of Emmanuel Swedenborg, Hindu philosophy, and other sources. What set Emerson apart from others who were expressing similar Transcendentalist notions were his abilities as a polished literary stylist able to express his thought with vividness and breadth of vision. His philosophical exposition has a peculiar power and an organic unity whose cumulative effect was highly suggestive and stimulating to his contemporary readers’ imaginations.

In a lecture entitled “The American Scholar” (August 31, 1837), Emerson described the resources and duties of the new liberated intellectual that he himself had become. This address was in effect a challenge to the Harvard intelligentsia, warning against pedantry, imitation of others, traditionalism, and scholarship unrelated to life. Emerson’s “Address at Divinity College,” Harvard University, in 1838 was another challenge, this time directed against a lifeless Christian tradition, especially Unitarianism as he had known it. He dismissed religious institutions and the divinity of Jesus as failures in man’s attempt to encounter deity directly through the moral principle or through an intuited sentiment of virtue. This address alienated many, left him with few opportunities to preach, and resulted in his being ostracized by Harvard for many years. Young disciples, however, joined the informal Transcendental Club (founded in 1836) and encouraged him in his activities.

In 1840 he helped launch The Dial, first edited by Margaret Fuller and later by himself, thus providing an outlet for the new ideas Transcendentalists were trying to present to America. Though short-lived, the magazine provided a rallying point for the younger members of the school. From his continuing lecture series, he gathered his Essays into two volumes (1841, 1844), which made him internationally famous. In his first volume of Essays Emerson consolidated his thoughts on moral individualism and preached the ethics of self-reliance, the duty of self-cultivation, and the need for the expression of self. The second volume of Essays shows Emerson accommodating his earlier idealism to the limitations of real life; his later works show an increasing acquiescence to the state of things, less reliance on self, greater respect for society, and an awareness of the ambiguities and incompleteness of genius.

His Representative Men (1849) contained biographies of Plato, Swedenborg, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Napoleon, and Goethe. In English Traits he gave a character analysis of a people from which he himself stemmed. The Conduct of Life (1860), Emerson’s most mature work, reveals a developed humanism together with a full awareness of human limitations. It may be considered as partly confession. Emerson’s collected Poems (1846) were supplemented by others in May-Day (1867), and the two volumes established his reputation as a major American poet.

By the 1860s Emerson’s reputation in America was secure, for time was wearing down the novelty of his rebellion as he slowly accommodated himself to society. He continued to give frequent lectures, but the writing he did after 1860 shows a waning of his intellectual powers. A new generation knew only the old Emerson and had absorbed his teaching without recalling the acrimony it had occasioned. Upon his death in 1882 Emerson was transformed into the Sage of Concord, shorn of his power as a liberator and enrolled among the worthies of the very tradition he had set out to destroy.

Emerson’s voice and rhetoric sustained the faith of thousands in the American lecture circuits between 1834 and the American Civil War. He served as a cultural middleman through whom the aesthetic and philosophical currents of Europe passed to America, and he led his countrymen during the burst of literary glory known as the American renaissance (1835–65). As a principal spokesman for Transcendentalism, the American tributary of European Romanticism, Emerson gave direction to a religious, philosophical, and ethical movement that above all stressed belief in the spiritual potential of every person.

Top 269 Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.
Behind
Comparison
Front
Inside
Lies
You
Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
Conspires
Decision
Happen
Make
Make it happen
Once
Universe
You
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
Accomplishment
Be yourself
Constantly
Else
Greatest
Make
Something
Something else
Trying
World
You
Yourself
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
Adopt
Her
Nature
Pace
Patience
Secret
Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.
Any
Defeats
Fear
More
More people
One thing
Other
People
Than
Thing
World
For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.
Angry
Every
Give
Mind
Minute
Peace
Peace of mind
Remain
Seconds
Sixty
Up
You
We are rich only through what we give, and poor only through what we refuse.
Give
Only
Poor
Refuse
Rich
Through
People with great gifts are easy to find, but symmetrical and balanced ones never.
Balanced
Easy
Find
Gifts
Great
Never
People
The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
Every
Every time
Fall
Falling
Glory
Greatest
Greatest glory
Lies
Living
Never
Rising
Time
People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
Also
Character
Confession
Opinion
People
See
Seem
World
We have listened too long to the courtly Muses of Europe.
Europe
Listened
Long
Muses
Too
Win as if you were used to it, lose as if you enjoyed it for a change.
Change
Enjoyed
Lose
Used
Were
Win
You
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
Achieved
Enthusiasm
Ever
Great
Nothing
Without
Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.
Ancestors
Every
Every man
His
Man
Quotation
The years teach much which the days never know.
Days
Know
Much
Never
Teach
Which
Years
All mankind love a lover.
Love
Lover
Mankind
The only way to have a friend is to be one.
Friend
Only
Way
We aim above the mark to hit the mark.
Above
Aim
Hit
Mark
It is not length of life, but depth of life.
Depth
Length
Life
All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
Better
Experiment
Experiments
Life
Make
More
You
It is one of the beautiful compensations in this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
Another
Beautiful
Help
Helping
Himself
Life
No-one
Sincerely
Try
Without
People only see what they are prepared to see.
Only
People
Prepared
See
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
Beautiful
Carry
Find
Must
Over
Though
Travel
Us
World
Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams.
Character
Dreams
Judge
Natural
You
Your
Your dreams
Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying.
Hear
Loudly
Saying
Speaks
Who
You
The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.
Gift
Greatest
Greatest gift
Portion
Thyself
God enters by a private door into every individual.
Door
Every
God
Individual
Private
A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.
Friend
Masterpiece
May
Nature
Reckoned
Well
Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. All is riddle, and the key to a riddle is another riddle.
Another
Key
Lessons
Life
Life is a
Lived
Must
Riddle
Succession
Understood
Which
As we grow old, the beauty steals inward.
Beauty
Grow
Inward
Old
Steals
Flowers... are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.
Assertion
Beauty
Flowers
Proud
Ray
World
Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
Best
Day
Every
Every day
Heart
Write
Year
Your
We are always getting ready to live but never living.
Always
Getting
Live
Living
Never
Ready
Every burned book enlightens the world.
Book
Burned
Enlightens
Every
World
There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.
Child
Get
Glad
Him
His
Lovely
Mother
Never
Sleep
Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.
Make
Most
You
Yourself
Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons.
Because
Betrayed
Courage
Every
Every man
He
Himself
His
Man
Other
Own
Persons
Seeks
A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.
Brave
Braver
Five
He
Hero
Longer
Man
Minutes
Ordinary
Ordinary man
Than
The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet.
Built
Civilized
Coach
Feet
His
Lost
Man
Use
The earth laughs in flowers.
Earth
Flowers
Laughs
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
Afford
Blessings
Friends
Old
Old friends
Stupid
Them
You
A man's growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.
Choirs
Friends
Growth
His
Man
Seen
Successive
Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one's self?
Anything
Elegant
Few
Self
Serve
Them
Wants
The first wealth is health.
First
Health
Wealth
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
Cannot
How
Kindness
Know
Late
Never
Soon
Too
Too late
Will
You
Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.
Every
Every time
Fail
Failing
Glory
Greatest
Greatest glory
Never
Our
Rising
Time
Up
I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.
Hate
Know
Me
Quotations
Tell
You
Science does not know its debt to imagination.
Debt
Does
Imagination
Know
Science
Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.
Love
Men
Science
Seed
Wonder
We must be our own before we can be another's.
Another
Before
Must
Our
Own

Ralph Waldo Emerson books

The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Modern Library Classics)

The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Modern Library Classics)

Self Reliance

Self Reliance

Emerson: Essays and Lectures: Nature: Addresses and Lectures / Essays: First and Second Series / Representative Men / English Traits / The Conduct of Life (Library of America)

Emerson: Essays and Lectures: Nature: Addresses and Lectures / Essays: First and Second Series / Representative Men / English Traits / The Conduct of Life (Library of America)

Nature

Nature

Inspiration & Wisdom from the Pen of Ralph Waldo Emerson: Over 600 quotes

Inspiration & Wisdom from the Pen of Ralph Waldo Emerson: Over 600 quotes

Self-Reliance and Other Essays (Dover Thrift Editions)

Self-Reliance and Other Essays (Dover Thrift Editions)

The Spiritual Emerson: Essential Works by Ralph Waldo Emerson (Tarcher Cornerstone Editions)

The Spiritual Emerson: Essential Works by Ralph Waldo Emerson (Tarcher Cornerstone Editions)

Self-reliance and Other Essays

Self-reliance and Other Essays

Everyday Emerson: The Wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson Paraphrased

Everyday Emerson: The Wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson Paraphrased

The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Essays & Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson (Barnes & Noble Classics)

Essays & Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson (Barnes & Noble Classics)

Nature and Selected Essays (Penguin Classics)

Nature and Selected Essays (Penguin Classics)

Ralph Waldo Emerson essays

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Rob Waldo Emerson And Transcendentalism Essay
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston in 1803. He was a boy of Unitarian minister plus the descendant of New England clergymen. This led him to become minister himself and later stop to focus on his philosophy called transcendentalism. Emerson started producing in his children and later went to Harvard School. After graduating from Harvard in 1821 he taught in a women school. The book of Anthology of yankee Literature says, "Like his philosophy, his writing seemed to lack corporation, but it swarmed with epigrams and remarkable passages" (939). Even though Ralph Waldo Emerson's..
The Corrruption Of Innocence
The Corruption of InnocenceIt has hit some going out of a lasting effects while others allow it go by. Some would see it because corruption, yet others see everyday routine. I see this as the pure loss of innocence in a world of corruption. This new issue has increased in today's era leaving nobody free of this wrath. It has not been the initially we have viewed of this. Losing innocence have been referred to over years by many people authors, great we come to see it in our lives a lot more usually. According to authors just like Emerson and Salinger, who have although had written their parts so far..
Stealing subjects Must Be Stopped Essay
Ethics and plagiarism go together. In a universe that says cheaters succeed, it is no wonder that stealing subjects runs widespread in our world. Once considered a rustic that was founded on integrity, honesty, and upright probe; we find themselves in a culture that advantages those who go off other's work as their own making it hard for individuals that truly should have recognition and work hard consider their ethics. It is important to know what stealing subjects is and what the consequences of intentional plagiarism are. In my opinion, completing off an individual else's operate..
The Good Life Essay
What is the good life? This kind of ambiguous idea differs for everyone. Americans might believe that to have the good life is to live the American Dream and achieve freedom, equal rights, and abundance.Others may believe that the good life consists of being extremely wealthy or perhaps famous. Over all, the definition with the good existence varies for everybody. There isn't one certain way a person ought to live in order for it to be "good".However , although the meaning of the good life is very different and available to multiple understanding, in order to live the best existence..
The Writings Of Ralph Waldo Emerson Dissertation
Ralph Waldo Emerson was obviously a 19th century poet and philosopher, who also wrote a number of essays and poems through his career(1). Emerson came to be in Ma and managed to graduate from Harvard College. In 1826, this individual became a minister, sometime later it was in 1829 was ordained to a Unitarian church. That same 12 months [1829] he married his wife, who died of tuberculosis merely three years later on. Emerson located himself within an immense point out of tremendous grief and ended up being stepping down from his local clergy status. (1) In 1832, Emerson put in time in The european countries..
Analytical Response for Narrative of the Lifestyle of Frederick Douglas and Ralph Waldo Emerson's Personal Reliance
Story of the Your life of Frederick Douglas can be Frederick Douglass's account from the troubles Douglas experienced as being a slave in the usa. It is drafted in the first person and gives a very vivid go into the life of your slave in America. Ralph Waldo Emerson's Do it yourself Reliance is likewise a first person look into a specific time period; the post-slavery period. Through Emerson's declarations of the importance of thinking for one's home, Emerson sets an focus on personal existence experiences but not accepting additional people's concepts. This examines..
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