Quotations To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. It seems that this is one of the most enduring misattributions of a work to Emerson. But putting that aside - what is your definition of success?
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 Ralph waldo emerson was an american essayist in direct line from Puritan days.
In Emerson entered the Boston Public Latin School, where his juvenile verses were encouraged and his literary gifts recognized. He graduated in and taught school while preparing for part-time study in the Harvard Divinity School.
Though Emerson was licensed to preach in the Unitarian community inillness slowed the progress of his career, and he was not ordained to the Unitarian ministry at the Second Church, Boston, until There he began to win fame as a preacher, and his position seemed secure.
In he also married Ellen Louisa Tucker. When she died of tuberculosis inhis 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.
Unitarianism had little appeal to him by now, and in 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.
When he left his pulpit he journeyed to Europe. At home once more inhe began to write Nature and established himself as a popular and influential lecturer.
By 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 s saw Emerson become an independent literary man. During this decade his own personal doubts and difficulties were increasingly shared by other intellectuals. Emerson helped initiate Transcendentalism by publishing anonymously in Boston in 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 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.
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 Romanticsthe 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. This address was in effect a challenge to the Harvard intelligentsia, warning against pedantry, imitation of others, traditionalism, and scholarship unrelated to life.
This address alienated many, left him with few opportunities to preach, and resulted in his being ostracized by Harvard for many years. Young discipleshowever, joined the informal Transcendental Club founded in and encouraged him in his activities. In he helped launch The Dialfirst 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, 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-cultivationand 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.
In English Traits he gave a character analysis of a people from which he himself stemmed. It may be considered as partly confession. He continued to give frequent lectures, but the writing he did after 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 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.
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 —American essayist, philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was a leading figure in the 19th century Transcendentalism movement.
A champion of individualism and persistent critic of social pressures, Emerson was an influential American figure whose philosophy is embodied in the numerous essays he wrote and lectures he gave.
On May 25, , American essayist, lecturer, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was born, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the midth century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society.
Ralph Waldo Emerson - Poet - American poet, essayist, and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in in Boston. American poet, essayist, and philosopher .
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