In his lifetime, Ralph Waldo Emerson became the most widely known man of letters in America, establishing himself as a prolific poet, essayist, popular lecturer, and an advocate of social reforms who was nevertheless suspicious of reform and reformers.
Emerson achieved some reputation with his verse, corresponded with many of the leading intellectual and artistic figures of his day, and during an off Ralph Waldo Emerson Art Essay on again career as a Unitarian minister, delivered and later published a number of controversial sermons. Transcendentalism in America, of which Emerson was the leading figure, resembled British Romanticism in its precept that a fundamental continuity exists between man, nature, and God, or the divine.
Matter and spirit are not opposed but reflect a critical unity of experience. Emerson is often characterized as an idealist philosopher and indeed used the term himself of his philosophy, explaining it simply as a recognition that plan always precedes action. Later developments in his thinking shifted the emphasis from unity to the balance of opposites: In the individual can be discovered all truths, all read article. For the individual, the religious experience must be direct and unmediated by texts, traditions, or personality.
To trust oneself visit web page follow our inner promptings corresponds to the highest degree of consciousness. Emerson concurred with the German poet and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe that originality was essentially a matter of reassembling elements drawn from other sources. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche read Emerson in German translations and his developing philosophy of the great man is clearly influenced and confirmed by the contact.
The cultural milieu of Boston at the turn of the nineteenth century would increasingly be marked by the conflict between its older conservative values and the radical reform movements and social idealists that emerged in the decades leading up through the s.
Emerson was one of five surviving see more who formed a supportive brotherhood, the financial and emotional leadership of which he was increasingly forced to assume over the years. Graduating in the middle of his class, Emerson taught in his brother William's school until when he entered the Divinity School at Harvard. The pattern of Emerson's intellectual life was shaped in these early years by the range and depth of his extracurricular reading in history, literature, philosophy, and religion, the extent of which took a severe toll on his eyesight and health.
Equally important to his intellectual development was the influence of his paternal aunt Mary Moody Emerson. Though she wrote primarily on religious subjects, Mary Moody Emerson set an example for Emerson and his brothers with her Ralph Waldo Emerson Art Essay reading in every branch of knowledge and her stubborn insistence that they form opinions on all of the issues of the day.
Mary Moody Emerson was at the same time passionately orthodox in religion and a lover of controversy, an original thinker tending to a mysticism that was a precursor to her nephew's more radical beliefs.
His aunt's influence waned as he developed away from her strict orthodoxy, but her relentless intellectual energy and combative individualism left a permanent stamp on Emerson as a thinker. Inhe accepted a call to serve as junior pastor at Boston's Second Church, serving only until when he resigned at least in part over his objections to the validity of the Lord's Supper.
Emerson would in refuse a call as minister to East Lexington Church but did preach there regularly until InEmerson married Ellen Tucker who died the following year of tuberculosis. Emerson married again in to Lydia Jackson. Together they had four children, the eldest of whom, Waldo, died at the age of five, an event that left deep scars on the couple and altered Emerson's outlook on the redemptive value of suffering.
In Emerson delivered his famous "American Scholar" lecture as the Phi Beta Kappa address at Harvard, but his controversial Harvard Divinity School address, Ralph Waldo Emerson Art Essay inwas the occasion of a twenty-nine year breach with the university and signaled his divergence from even the liberal theological currents of Cambridge. Compelled by financial necessity to undertake a career on the lecture circuit, Emerson began lecturing in earnest in and kept a demanding public schedule until While providing Emerson's growing family and array gaga Top Dissertation Methodology Proofreading Websites For University bad dependents with a steady income, the lecture tours heightened public awareness of Emerson's ideas and work.
First Series was published infollowed by Essays: Second Series inthe two volumes most responsible for Emerson's reputation as a philosopher.
InEmerson also purchased the land on the shore of Walden Pond where he was to allow the naturalist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau to build a cabin the following year.
While sympathetic to the experimental collective at Brook Farm, Emerson declined urgent appeals to join the group and maintained his own household in Concord with Lydia and their growing family. Emerson attempted to create his own community of kindred spirits, however, assembling in the neighborhood of Concord a group of writers including Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the social thinker Margaret Fuller, the reformer Bronson Alcott, and the poet Ellery Channing.
English Traits was inspired by a trip to Britain during By the s, Emerson was an outspoken advocate of abolition in lectures across New England and the Midwest and continued lecturing widely on a number of different topics—eighty lectures in alone. Emerson spent the final years of his life peacefully but without full use of his faculties. He died of pneumonia in at his home in Concord.
As a philosopher, Emerson primarily makes use of two forms, the essay and the public address or lecture. His career began, however, with a short book, Naturepublished anonymously in Nature touches on many of the ideas to which he would return to again and again over his lifetime, most significantly the perspective that nature serves as an intermediary between human experience and what lies beyond nature.
Emerson invokes the "transparent eye-ball" to describe the loss of individuation in the experience of nature, where there is no seer, only seeing: While Emerson characterizes traversing the common with mystical language, it is also importantly a Ralph Waldo Emerson Art Essay of knowledge.
The fundamental knowledge of nature that circulates through him is the basis of all human knowledge but cannot be distinguished, in Emerson's thought, from divine understanding. The unity of nature is the unity of variety, and "each particle is a microcosm.
Man ought to live in a original relation to the universe, an assault on convention he repeats in various formulas throughout his life; however, "man is the dwarf of himself. Emerson begins with a familiar critique of American and particularly New England culture by asserting that Americans were "a people too busy to give to letters any more. Continuing in this theme, Emerson argues against book knowledge entirely and in favor of lived experience: Emerson calls Ralph Waldo Emerson Art Essay both creative writing and Ralph Waldo Emerson Art Essay reading," individual development being essential for the encounter with mind found in books.
The object of scholarly culture is not the bookworm but "Man Thinking," Emerson's figure for an active, self-reliant intellectual life that thus puts mind in touch with Mind and the "Divine Soul.
Emerson set out defiantly to insist on the divinity of all men rather than one single historical personage, a position at odds with Christian orthodoxy but one central to his entire system of thought. The original relation to nature Emerson insisted upon ensures an original relation to the divine, not copied from the religious experience of others, even Jesus of Nazareth. Emerson observes that in the universe there is a "justice" operative in the form of compensation: Whether Emerson characterized it as compensation, retribution, balance, or unity, the principle of an automatic response to all human action, good or ill, was a permanent fixture of his thought.
Two of Emerson's first non-occasional public lectures from this early period contain especially important expressions visit web page his thought.
Always suspicious of reform and reformers, Emerson was yet an advocate of reform causes.
Ralph Waldo Emerson - Art, Essay Audiobook
In "Man the Reformer"Emerson expresses this ambivalence by speculating that if we were to "Let our affection flow out to our fellows; it would operate in a day the greatest of all revolutions.
Emerson brought out his Essays: First Seriesinwhich contain perhaps his single most influential work, "Self-Reliance.
His essays are bound together neither by their stated theme nor the progression of argument, but instead by the systematic coherence of his thought alone. Indeed, the various titles of Emerson's do not limit the subject matter of the essays but repeatedly bear out the abiding concerns of his philosophy.
Another feature of http://cocktail24.info/blog/dissertations-theses-full-text.php rhetorical style involves exploring the contrary poles of a particular idea, similar to a poetic antithesis.
As a philosopher-poet, Emerson employs a highly figurative style, while his poetry is remarkable as a poetry of ideas. The language of the essays is sufficiently poetical that Thoreau felt compelled to say critically of the essays—"they were not written exactly at the right crisis [to be poetry] though inconceivably near it. Ralph Waldo Emerson Art Essay the wide-ranging style of his essays, he returns to the subject of nature, suggesting that nature is itself a repetition of a very few laws, and thus implying that history repeats itself consistently with a few recognizable situations.
Like the Danish philosopher Soren KierkegaardEmerson disavowed nineteenth century notions of progress, arguing in the next essay of the book, "Society never advances. For everything that is given, something is taken. The emphasis on the unity of experience is the same: No less a friend of Emerson's than Herman Melville parodied excessive faith in the individual through the portrait of Captain Ahab in his classic American novel, Moby-Dick. Nevertheless, Emerson argued that if our promptings are bad they come from our inmost being.
If we are made thus we have little choice in any case but to be what we are. Translating this precept into the social realm, Emerson famously declares, "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist"—a point of view developed at length in both the life and work of Thoreau.
Equally memorable and influential on Walt Whitman is Emerson's idea that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
Emerson opposes on principle the reliance on social structures civil, religious precisely because through them the individual Ralph Waldo Emerson Art Essay the divine second hand, mediated by the once original experience of a genius from another age: Three years later in Emerson published his Essays: Second Serieseight essays and one public lecture, the titles Ralph Waldo Emerson Art Essay the range of his interests: This philosophy of art has its premise in the Transcendental notion that the power of nature operates through all being, that it is being: Emerson's aesthetics stress not the object of art but the force that creates the art object, or as he characterizes this process in relation to poetry: While Emerson does not accept in principle social progress as such, his philosophy emphasizes the progress of spirit, particularly when understood as development.
This process he allies with the process of art: It is also an essay written out of the devastating grief that struck the Emerson household after the death of their five-year-old son, Waldo. He wrote, whether out of conviction or helplessness, "I grieve that grief can teach me nothing. The early visit web page saw the publication of a number of distinctively American texts: Emerson's Representative Men failed to anticipate this flowering of a uniquely American literature Ralph Waldo Emerson Art Essay at least one respect: Each portrait balances the particular feature of the representative man that illustrates the general laws inhabiting humanity along read article an assessment of the great man's shortcomings.
Like Nietzsche, Emerson did not believe that great men were ends in themselves but served particular functions, notably for Emerson their capacity to "clear our eyes of egotism, and enable us to see other people in their works.
While Plato receives credit for establishing the "cardinal facts. Unity, or Identity; and, 2. Variety," Emerson concedes that through Plato we have had no success in "explaining existence. But although he approves of the religion Swedenborg urged, a spirituality of each and every moment, Emerson complains the mystic lacks the "liberality of universal wisdom. The English poet possessed the rare capacity of greatness in that he allowed the spirit of his age to achieve representation through him.
Nevertheless the world waits on "a poet-priest" who Ralph Waldo Emerson Art Essay see, speak, and act, with equal inspiration. In The Conduct of LifeEmerson describes "concentration," or bringing to bear all of one's powers on a single object, as the "chief prudence.
Yet, "the lawgiver of art is not an artist," and repeating a call for an original relation to the infinite, foregoing even the venerable authority of Goethe, Emerson concludes, "We too must write Bibles. English Traits was published in but represented almost a decade of reflections on an invited lecture tour Emerson made in to Great Britain. English Traits presents an unusually conservative set of perspectives on a rather limited subject, that of a single nation and "race," in place of human civilization and humanity as a whole.
Ralph Waldo Emerson links: a concise, simple directory to resources on Ralph Waldo Emerson, American author, poet and philosopher. More links to Transcendentalist. Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, poet, and philosopher. This site contains HTML (web-readable) versions of many of Emerson's best-known essays, including a. Essays: First Series Self-Reliance “Ne te quaesiveris extra.” “Man is his own star; and the soul that can Render an honest and a perfect man, Commands all light. In his lifetime, Ralph Waldo Emerson became the most widely known man of letters in America, establishing himself as a prolific poet, essayist, popular lecturer, and. History by Ralph Waldo Emerson the full text of the famous essay.
English Traits contains an advanced understanding of race, namely, that the differences among the members of a race are greater than the differences between races, but in general introduces few new ideas. The work is source "occasional," shaped by his travels and visits, and bore evidence of what seemed to be an erosion of energy and originality in his thought.
The Conduct of Lifehowever, proved to be a work of startling vigor and insight and is Emerson's last important work published in his lifetime. Some of Emerson's finest poetry can be found in his essays. In "Fate" he writes: