Ralph Waldo Emerson cover

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Ralph Waldo Emerson

American philosopher, essayist, and poet

1803   -   1882

genre: Transcendentalism
country of citizenship: United States of America
educated at: Harvard University, Harvard Divinity School
occupation: philosopher, poet, writer, essayist, diarist, biographer
award received: Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
influenced by: Michel de Montaigne, Emmanuel Swedenborg, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Plato

Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States. Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of transcendentalism in his 1836 essay "Nature". Following this work, he gave a speech entitled "The American Scholar" in 1837, which Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. considered to be America's "intellectual Declaration of Independence."Emerson wrote most of his important essays as lectures first and then revised them for print. His first two collections of essays, Essays: First Series (1841) and Essays: Second Series (1844), represent the core of his thinking. They include the well-known essays "Self-Reliance", "The Over-Soul", "Circles", "The Poet", and "Experience." Together with "Nature", these essays made the decade from the mid-1830s to the mid-1840s Emerson's most fertile period. Emerson wrote on a number of subjects, never espousing fixed philosophical tenets, but developing certain ideas such as individuality, freedom, the ability for mankind to realize almost anything, and the relationship between the soul and the surrounding world. Emerson's "nature" was more philosophical than naturalistic: "Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul." Emerson is one of several figures who "took a more pantheist or pandeist approach by rejecting views of God as separate from the world."He remains among the linchpins of the American romantic movement, and his work has greatly influenced the thinkers, writers and poets that followed him. "In all my lectures," he wrote, "I have taught one doctrine, namely, the infinitude of the private man." Emerson is also well known as a mentor and friend of Henry David Thoreau, a fellow transcendentalist.
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works

28

The World-Soul

poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson

author: Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Conduct of Life

book by Ralph Waldo Emerson

author: Ralph Waldo Emerson

1860

Essays: First Series

book by Ralph Waldo Emerson

author: Ralph Waldo Emerson

1841

Essays: Second Series

book by Ralph Waldo Emerson

author: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Experience

essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson

author: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Representative Men

book by Ralph Waldo Emerson

author: Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Rhodora

poem written by Ralph Waldo Emerson

author: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Uriel

poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson

author: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Γνωθι Σεαυτον

poetry by Ralph Waldo Emerson

author: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nature

book by Emerson

author: Ralph Waldo Emerson

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