Ralph Waldo Emerson 3 Essay, Research Paper
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston Massachusetts in 1803. (Gagne 1 ) Emerson grew up with five brothers and two sisters. ( Yanella 1 ) He was highly educated and graduated from Harvard at the age of eighteen in 1821. He then attend the Harvard Divinity school in 1825. (Yanella 3) Due to Emerson’s sophisticated style, he is difficult to read but such an interesting poet that in the end a person never regrets the effort to understand this important figure in American culture.
After his studies at Harvard, Emerson entered the ministry and became a preacher in the Old Second Church. (”Ralph Waldo Emerson” 1 ) During this time he married Ellen Tucker who dies of tuberculosis seventeen months later after their marriage. (Gagne 1) Unable to continue, Emerson resigns from the church in 1831. (” Ralph Waldo Emerson” 1 )
A year after his wife’s death, Emerson travels to England to and visits Thomas Carlyle and Samuel Coleridge who were two English writers. (”Ralph Waldo Emerson” 1) Emerson became good friends with Carlyle who helped Emerson form his own views of the world in which he lived in. (”Ralph Waldo Emerson” 1) Emerson returned from Europe in 1833 to settle in Concord, Massachusetts where he became known as the person to who challenged traditional thought. (Gange 1) Here in Concord he met and married his second wife, Lydia Jackson in 1835. (”Ralph Waldo Emerson” 1) He also joined a literature group in his area and became the chief spokesman of the group which was involved in the concept of Transcendentalism. This is a theory that goes against scientific rationalism. (”Ralph Waldo Emerson” 1) Emerson wrote his first book “Nature” in 1936 which best expressed his theory of Transcendentalism. Emerson states this theory as “Everything in our world-even a drop of dew-is a microcosm of the universe.” (”Ralph Waldo Emerson” 1) Emerson said you should disregard outside authority and base your actions on personal experiences. This led to his famous motto “Trust thyself.” (”Ralph Waldo Emerson” 1)
Five years after Emerson released “Nature”, he released “Essays:First Series in 1841. (Yanella 36) Emerson did not release his works as random collections of ideas on all different topics but instead wrote the coherent works of Emerson’s thoughts. This work connects the modern age with the history of man. (Yanella 37)
Emerson’s first volume of poetry was released when he was forty-three years old on Christmas in 1846. (Yanella 68) In his essay “The Poet” Emerson best describes what he fells is the role of a poet and what poetry means to him. Emerson states that “The poet shares the universe with two other children, the knower and the doer. The poet is known as the sayer or the namer. (Yanella 68) He again speaks of transcendentalism and the limitations of knowing which is the path used by men such as scientists. (Yanella 68) Emerson’s most famous essay is “Self Reliance where he tells people to take a close look at their relationship with nature and god and that they should always trust their own judgments above all. (”Ralph Waldo Emerson” 1)
In 1886 Emerson released his second set of poems which was called “May-Day and Other Pieces” which was his last major work before he began to slow down. (Yanella 16) He then took up giving lectures at Harvard during the spring of 1870 until he was invited to take a train trip cross-country to California. (Yanella 17) Emerson took his last trip to England along with his daughter Ellen in 1872. After visiting his friend Caralyle, the tour what he called the “Old World.” (Yanella 17)
Emerson health was failing yet he still managed to release two more works of his own. They were Paranassus and Letters and Social Aims. These works greatly reflected the thoughts of those who helped him write them due to his dwindling memory. (Yanella 18) After a few more lectures at Harvard, Emerson died on April 27, 1882 of pneumonia. (”Ralph Waldo Emerson” 1)