From the embattled farmers who "fired the shot heard round the world" in the stirring "Concord Hymn," to the flower in "The Rhodora," whose existence demonstrates "that if eyes were made for seeing, / Then Beauty is its own excuse for being," Emerson celebrates the existence of the sublime in the human and in nature.
Known in his time primarily as an essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) has since become more celebrated as a poet. One of the leading literary figures in nineteenth-century America, Emerson was for a while a pastor in the Unitarian Church before becoming a full-time writer and lecturer, settling in Concord where he was a friend of Thoreau, Hawthorne and Alcott (father of Louisa May). Together they were known as the Transcendentalists because of their high moral tone and philosophical preoccupations. Emerson himself has been described as the mystic of common sense. Emerson published his first volume of verse in 1846. With an intellectual breadth rare in any age, his poems combine intensity of spiritual feeling with close observation of the New England landscape. Among the most famous are 'The Problem', 'The Snowstorm', 'The Rhodora', the 'Concord Hymn', 'Brahma' and 'Days'. This volume includes work from the collections published in Emerson's lifetime and from the many unpublished poems and translations he left at his death.
Date- 2013-08-06 Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803--1882) was a renowned lecturer and writer, whose ideas on philosophy, religion, and literature influenced many writers, including Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman. After an undergraduate career at Harvard, he studied at Harvard Divinity School and became an ordained minister, continuing a long line of ministers in his family. He traveled widely and lectured, and became well known for his publications Essays and Nature.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, the son of a Unitarian minister and a chaplain during the American Revolution, was born in 1803 in Boston. He attended the Boston Latin School, and in 1817 entered Harvard, graduating in 1820. Emerson supported himself as a schoolteacher from 1821-26. In 1826 he was 'approbated to preach,' and in 1829 became pastor of the Scond Church (Unitarian) in Boston. That same year he married Ellen Louise Tucker, who was to die of tuberculosis only seventeen months later.
In 1832 Emerson resigned his pastorate and traveled to Eurpe, where he met Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Carlyle. He settled in Concord, Massachusetts, in 1834, where he began a new career as a public lecturer, and married Lydia Jackson a year later. A group that gathered around Emerson in Concord came to be known as 'the Concord school,' and included Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Fuller.
Every year Emerson made a lecture tour; and these lectures were the source of most of his essays. Nature (1836), his first published work, contained the essence of his transcendental philosophy, which views the world of phenomena as a sort of symbol of the inner life and emphasizes individual freedom and self-reliance. Emerson's address to the Phi Beta Kappa society of Harvard (1837) and another address to the graduating class of the Harvard Divinity School (1838) applied his doctrine to the scholar and the clergyman, provoking sharp controversy. An ardent abolitionist, Emerson lectured and wrote widely against slavery from the 1840's through the Civil War.
His principal publications include two volumes of Essays (1841, 1844), Poems (1847), Representative Men (1850), The Conduct of Life (1860), and Society and Solitude (1870). He died of pneumonia in 1882 and was buried in Concord.