Ralph Waldo Emerson

Topics: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism, Concord, Massachusetts Pages: 4 (1564 words) Published: May 8, 2013
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Also known as father of Transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, had unique philosophies that impact our society even today. Emerson was born in Boston on May 25, 1803 to William Emerson and Ruth Emerson. As Ralph Waldo Emerson was growing up, he had a difficult life. His father died in 1811. His mother was left with no other option, but to take in boarders to support her family. The paternal aunt, Mary Mood Emerson, was a great influence in Emerson’s early life. She was a gnomic genius whose gift for succinct phrasing was descended to her nephew (“Emerson, Ralph Waldo” American Authors 1600-1900 252). He had an eventful life which even influenced his works. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the central figure of the Transcendental movement, not only impacted our society, but also pushed people to dream big and strive for the impossible.

Emerson started school early before he was three years old at Boston Latin School in 1812. During the same year, the second war with England broke out. His mother, Ruth Emerson, took the family to Concord in 1814. Emerson entered Harvard College in 1817 where he continued to write and even become a class poet. Emerson’s college years were a mixture of healthy social activity and intellectual; development. (Yannella 2-3). He received his B.A. in 1820, and for three years taught in his oldest brother’s private school. He disliked this job. On his aunt’s advice, he turned to the ministry. However, his studies were interrupted by his tuberculosis which led him to move to Florida and Georgia in search for a warmer climate (“Emerson, Ralph Waldo” American Authors 1600-1900 252-253). In 1829 Emerson became a pastor of the Second Church in Boston, and in the same year he married Ellen Tucker. She died in 1831, and Emerson quit his pastorate (“Ralph Waldo Emerson” American Writers 7). Emerson broke with the church on the issue of the rite of communion. He continued to preach elsewhere, but he never served as a regular...


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Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “From Self- Reliance.” Literature Georgia Treasures. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Douglas Fisher, Beverly Ann Chin, and Jacqueline Jones Royster. Ohio: McGraw- Hill, 2011. 194-195.
Frost, Robert “On Emerson.” Emerson. Ed. Milton R. Konvitz and Stephen E. Whicher. Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1962. 12-17.
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“Ralph Waldo Emerson.” American Writers II. Ed. Leonard Unger. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974. 1-24.
“Ralph Waldo Emerson.” NCLC. 17. Ed. Janet Mullane. Michigan: Gale Research, 1988. 274-311 19 vols.
“Ralph Waldo Emerson.” Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, 2012. 18 April 2012. .
Santayana, George. “On Emerson.” Emerson. Ed. Milton R. Konvitz and Stephen E. Whicher. Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1962. 32-38.
Yannella, Donald. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1982. 1-28.
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