Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts. Early in his life, Emerson followed in the footsteps of his father and became minister, but this ended in 1832 when he felt he could no longer serve as a minister in good conscience. He experienced doubts about the Christian church and its doctrine. These reservations were temporarily alleviated by his brief association with Unitarianism, but soon Emerson became discontent with even their decidedly liberal interpretation of Christianity. After a while, however, he discovered the writings of British poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, and used their works to shape his own.
Emerson’s wife died in 1831, an event that likely pushed him towards a path of self-discovery. At the end of 1832, Emerson left for Europe. While there, he had the opportunity to meet some of his literary idols: William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Thomas Carlyle. These relationships would continue to inspire Emerson as he forged his unique relationship with the universe.
When Emerson returned to America in 1833, he began a career as a lecturer and published his first book, the now famous, Nature. After a series of radical lectures, Emerson shifted from sometime preacher and scholar to speaker and full-time author. His work, Essays, was published in 1841. This work only added to his notoriety as a nonconformist. He continued to intermittently publish and lecture in the United States, until he embarked upon a series of lectures in Europe in 1847. Emerson returned to the United States, and resumed lecturing and writing. He made numerous trips to speak around the nation, and again in Europe, until his death o...
... middle of paper ...
... scholars all over the world, and taught at some of the earliest levels in the American education system. He is the embodiment of the American spirit, a man full of freedom and determination, restless in his search for a unique understanding of life.
Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Sixth Edition. Vol. A of
Literature to 1820. New York: Norton, 2003.
Buell, Lawrence. “Ralph Waldo Emerson.” Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 1: The
American Renaissance in New England Ed. Joel Myerson. Gale, 1978.
48-60. Literature Resource Center.
Porte, Joel. Representative Man: Ralph Waldo Emerson in His Time. Oxford UP, 1979. A Short Biographical Sketch of Ralph Waldo Emerson. 11 Nov. 2002
Yannella, Donald. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Boston: Twayne, 1982.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston in 1803. He was a son of Unitarian minister and the descendant of New England clergymen. This led him to become a minister himself and later quit to focus on his philosophy called transcendentalism. Emerson started writing in his youth and later attended Harvard University. After graduating from Harvard in 1821 he taught in a women school. The book of Anthology of American Literature says, “Like his philosophy, his writing seemed to lack organization, but it swarmed with epigrams and memorable passages” (939).... [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]
2180 words (6.2 pages)
- Transcendentalism is a major concept that originated in New England from 1836 to 1855. It is the idea that people have knowledge about themselves that rises above or goes beyond the five senses. The man credited with leading this revolutionary movement was Ralph Waldo Emerson. He was born in Boston, and used his experience at Harvard and as a Unitarian Reverend to help start this revolution. He eventually would come to the conclusion that the individual is more morally just than religion. He started this shift with his book Nature, which he published in 1836.... [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]
1089 words (3.1 pages)
- Ralph Waldo Emerson was a 19th century poet and philosopher, who wrote several essays and poems throughout his career(1). Emerson was born in Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard College. In 1826, he became a minister, and later in 1829 was ordained to a Unitarian church. That same year  he married his wife, who died of tuberculosis just three years later. Emerson found himself in an immense state of grief and ended up stepping down from his clergy status. (1) In 1832, Emerson spent time in Europe with literary scholars, developing the ideas and notions of spirituality that are found in his compilation of essays titled Nature.... [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism, Concord]
770 words (2.2 pages)
- Religion is generally viewed as a common belief shared by a group of people. These groups then create dogmas and doctrines that are to be followed and perceived as true. From the doctrines rituals and rites form leading to a sense of unity through initiation. Once a person is initiated they are granted membership into the religion and are given a sense of belonging. The sense of being part of a bigger picture is a commonality found in all humans. The usual uniting factor that binds people to a religion is the belief in the same higher being, usually called God, or Gods.... [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]
1002 words (2.9 pages)
- Nature is an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson where he discusses the symbolism that exists in nature, its manifestations, and the ongoing development of nature toward higher forms. According to Emerson, nature itself can be considered as an experience of solitude (“man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society”). It is his belief that when the individual desires to be alone, he shall look into the immensity of the sky, as it inspires a feeling of awe and respect. To Emerson everything in nature is a source of wisdom, simplicity, and fulfillment (“flowers, the animals, the mountains, reflected the wisdom of his best hour”).... [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]
2046 words (5.8 pages)
- The idea of Individualism can be traced all the way back to England before America’s existence. As we know, individualism has been interpreted in many forms throughout history. The 19th century is no different, taking hold of its own idea of individualism, called transcendentalism. Transcendentalism suggests freedom should not be confined to those focused on money and superficial gains. Instead, people should depend on no one but themselves. This movement focused on “greater individualism against conformity” (Corbett et al.).... [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]
853 words (2.4 pages)
- Nature is Free In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay entitled Nature (1836), Emerson stresses how nature can heal our day-to-day troubles and sorrows by captivating us with all the beauty that it has to offer. In addition, Emerson explains that in order for people to find peaceful state of mind, they need to start paying closer attention to nature. He states and I quote, “the stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kinder impression, when the mind is open to their influence.”(Emerson, Ch.1) Furthermore, Emerson argues that nature is harmless and humble, and that no genius can figure out how it was created in the first... [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]
1243 words (3.6 pages)
- Our society today faces a multitude of problems. The environment is littered with widespread pollution, fighting engulfs countries into turmoil, and inequality remains rampant across all nations. Not surprisingly, many people are now turning to a primitive way for solutions, nature. One essay that explores the value of nature is Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature. In his essay, Emerson argues the importance of nature in solving his and the world’s problems. Based on my reading and analysis, the value of nature is its ability to restore greatness to the world.... [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]
1487 words (4.2 pages)
- Plotinus once said, “Nature is but an image or imitation of wisdom, the last thing of the soul; nature being a thing which doth only do, but not know.” Plotinus’ quote, which is featured in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, “Nature,” summarizes the gist of the essay’s theme. Because Emerson believed humans did not understand nature, Emerson explored nature through its many different aspects and characteristics. Emerson’s often expressed his ideas through analogies because he believed analogies were the basis of human thought.... [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]
1303 words (3.7 pages)
- Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts. Early in his life, Emerson followed in the footsteps of his father and became minister, but this ended in 1832 when he felt he could no longer serve as a minister in good conscience. He experienced doubts about the Christian church and its doctrine. These reservations were temporarily alleviated by his brief association with Unitarianism, but soon Emerson became discontent with even their decidedly liberal interpretation of Christianity.... [tags: People Ralph Waldo Emerson Biography Essays]
1317 words (3.8 pages)