List of ralph waldo emerson essays

An unremarkable student, he made no particular impression on his contemporaries.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: Selected full-text books and articles

In , he graduated thirteenth in his class of , and he was elected class poet only after six other students declined the honor. It was at Harvard that he began keeping his celebrated journals.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Biography

After graduating from college, Emerson moved to Boston to teach at his brother William's School for Young Ladies and began to experiment with fiction and verse. In , after quitting the ladies school, he entered Harvard Divinity School; one year later, he received his master's degree, which qualified him to preach.


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He began to suffer from symptoms of tuberculosis, and in the fall of he went to Georgia and Florida in hopes of improving his health. He returned in late December to Boston, where he preached occasionally. In Concord, New Hampshire, he met Ellen Tucker, a seventeen-year-old poet who also suffered from tuberculosis. The two were married in September , just after Emerson had been ordained pastor of the Second Unitarian Church of Boston. They were very happy in the marriage, but, unfortunately, both were also quite ill with tuberculosis; in , after less than two years of marriage, Ellen died.

By the end of the following year, Emerson had resigned his pastorate at Second Unitarian Church. Among his reasons for resigning were his refusal to administer the sacrament of the Last Supper, which he believed to be an unnecessary theological rite, and his belief that the ministry was an "antiquated profession.

A Library of America Paperback Classic

While in Europe, he met many of the leading thinkers of his time, including the economist and philosopher John Stuart Mill; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whose Aids to Reflection Emerson admired; the poet William Wordsworth; and Thomas Carlyle, the historian and social critic, with whom Emerson established a lifelong friendship.

After his return from Europe in the fall of , Emerson began a career as a public lecturer with an address in Boston. One of his first lectures, "The Uses of Natural History," attempted to humanize science by explaining that "the whole of Nature is a metaphor or image of the human mind," an observation that he would often repeat. Other lectures followed — on diverse subjects such as Italy, biography, English literature, the philosophy of history, and human culture.

In September , Emerson moved to Concord, Massachusetts, as a boarder in the home of his step-grandfather, Ezra Ripley. On September 14, , he married Lydia Jackson of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and they moved into a house of their own in Concord, where they lived for the rest of their lives. Emerson's first book, Nature , was published anonymously in Although only a slim volume, it contains in brief the whole substance of his thought.

It sold very poorly — after twelve years, its first edition of copies had not yet sold out. A year after he made this speech, he was invited back to Harvard to speak to the graduating class of Harvard Divinity School. His address, which advocated intuitive, personal revelation, created such an uproar that he was not invited back to his alma mater for thirty years. Perhaps Amos Bronson Alcott best summarizes this phase of Emerson's life when he wrote: "Emerson's church consists of one member — himself.

PNTV: Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

In , Emerson joined the Transcendental Club, and in the ensuing years the group, which included Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Alcott, met often at his home. In , he helped launch The Dial , a journal of literature, philosophy, and religion that focused on transcendentalist views. After the first two years, he succeeded Fuller as its editor. The Dial was recognized as the official voice of transcendentalism, and Emerson became intimately associated with the movement. Two years later, however, the journal ceased publication.

In , Emerson published the first volume of his Essays , a carefully constructed collection of some of his best-remembered writings, including "Self-Reliance" and "The Over-Soul. Tragedy struck the Emerson family in January when Emerson's son, Waldo, died of scarlet fever.

When Emerson died in he was the most famous public intellectual in America. Yet his most remarkable literary creation—his journals—remained unpublished.


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Each volume includes a page portfolio of images of Emerson and his contemporaries, a note on the selections, extensive notes, biographical sketches, a chronology, and an index. The Library of America series includes more than volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1, pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

They were the starting point for virtually everything in his celebrated essays, lectures, and poems.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803—1882)

Displacing all previous editions in its comprehensiveness and textual authority, this volume reveals the ecstatic, mystical, and private meditative sides of one of the greatest of all American writers. All the poetry Emerson published during his lifetime is included in this single volume. His familiarity with botany and geology, Greek philosophy, Persian poetry, and anti-slavery politics gives his writing an intellectual breadth, and a challenging, continuing modernity unique among American poets of his time.

Our most eloquent champion of individualism, Emerson acknowledges at the same time the countervailing pressures of society in American life. Not merely another selection of his essays, this volume includes all his major books in their rich entirety.