Skip Nav

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Search form

❶Difficult concepts are elucidated through analogy and metaphor. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikiquote Wikisource.

Recent Forum Posts on Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quick Links -
Text & Quotes of Emerson

He gave a public lecture at the Smithsonian on January 31, , and declared: I call it destitution Emancipation is the demand of civilization".

Lincoln was familiar with Emerson's work, having previously seen him lecture. Chase, the secretary of the treasury; Edward Bates, the attorney general; Edwin M. Stanton, the secretary of war; Gideon Welles, the secretary of the navy; and William Seward, the secretary of state.

Emerson delivered his eulogy. He often referred to Thoreau as his best friend, [] despite a falling-out that began in after Thoreau published A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.

Emerson served as a pallbearer when Hawthorne was buried in Concord, as Emerson wrote, "in a pomp of sunshine and verdure". Starting in , Emerson's health began declining; he wrote much less in his journals. In the spring of , Emerson took a trip on the transcontinental railroad , barely two years after its completion. Along the way and in California he met a number of dignitaries, including Brigham Young during a stopover in Salt Lake City. Part of his California visit included a trip to Yosemite , and while there he met a young and unknown John Muir , a signature event in Muir's career.

Emerson's Concord home caught fire on July 24, He called for help from neighbors and, giving up on putting out the flames, all attempted to save as many objects as possible.

While the house was being rebuilt, Emerson took a trip to England, continental Europe, and Egypt. He left on October 23, , along with his daughter Ellen [] while his wife Lidian spent time at the Old Manse and with friends. The problems with his memory had become embarrassing to Emerson and he ceased his public appearances by As Holmes wrote, "Emerson is afraid to trust himself in society much, on account of the failure of his memory and the great difficulty he finds in getting the words he wants.

It is painful to witness his embarrassment at times". Emerson's religious views were often considered radical at the time. He believed that all things are connected to God and, therefore, all things are divine. I believe in the 'still, small voice,' and that voice is Christ within us. Emerson did not become an ardent abolitionist until , though his journals show he was concerned with slavery beginning in his youth, even dreaming about helping to free slaves.

In June , shortly after Charles Sumner, a United States Senator, was beaten for his staunch abolitionist views, Emerson lamented that he himself was not as committed to the cause. He wrote, "There are men who as soon as they are born take a bee-line to the axe of the inquisitor. Wonderful the way in which we are saved by this unfailing supply of the moral element". In early , provoked by the murder of an abolitionist publisher from Alton, Illinois named Elijah Parish Lovejoy , Emerson gave his first public antislavery address.

As he said, "It is but the other day that the brave Lovejoy gave his breast to the bullets of a mob, for the rights of free speech and opinion, and died when it was better not to live". By August 1, , at a lecture in Concord, he stated more clearly his support for the abolitionist movement: Emerson is often known as one of the most liberal democratic thinkers of his time who believed that through the democratic process, slavery should be abolished.

While being an avid abolitionist who was known for his criticism of the legality of slavery, Emerson struggled with the implications of race. Not until he was well into his 30s did Emerson begin to publish writings on race and slavery, and not until he was in his late 40s and 50s did he became known as an antislavery activist. During his early life, Emerson seems to develop a hierarchy of races based on faculty to reason or rather, whether African slaves were distinguishably equal to white men based on their ability to reason.

I saw ten, twenty, a hundred large lipped, lowbrowed black men in the streets who, except in the mere matter of language, did not exceed the sagacity of the elephant. Now is it true that these were created superior to this wise animal, and designed to control it? As with many supporters of slavery, during his early years, Emerson seems to have thought that the faculties of African slaves were not equal to their white owners.

But this belief in racial inferiorities did not make Emerson a supporter of slavery. Emerson saw himself as a man of "Saxon descent". In a speech given in titled "Permanent Traits of the English National Genius", he said, "The inhabitants of the United States, especially of the Northern portion, are descended from the people of England and have inherited the traits of their national character".

White Americans who were native-born in the United States and of English ancestry were categorized by him as a separate "race", which he thought had a position of being superior to other nations. His idea of race was based more on a shared culture, environment, and history than on scientific traits that modern science defines as race. He believed that native-born Americans of English descent were superior to European immigrants, including the Irish, French, and Germans, and also as being superior to English people from England, whom he considered a close second and the only really comparable group.

Later in his life, Emerson's ideas on race changed when he became more involved in the abolitionist movement while at the same time he began to more thoroughly analyze the philosophical implications of race and racial hierarchies. His beliefs shifted focus to the potential outcomes of racial conflicts. Emerson's racial views were closely related to his views on nationalism and national superiority, specifically that of the Saxons of ancient England, which was a common view in the United States of that time.

Emerson used contemporary theories of race and natural science to support a theory of race development. Such conflicts were necessary for the dialectic of change that would eventually allow the progress of the nation.

This hybridization process would lead to a superior race that would be to the advantage of the superiority of the United States. Emerson was a supporter of the spread of community libraries in the 19th century, having this to say of them: A company of the wisest and wittiest men that could be picked out of all civil countries, in a thousand years, have set in best order the results of their learning and wisdom.

Emerson may have had erotic thoughts about at least one man. As a lecturer and orator, Emerson—nicknamed the Sage of Concord—became the leading voice of intellectual culture in the United States. Emerson's work not only influenced his contemporaries, such as Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau, but would continue to influence thinkers and writers in the United States and around the world down to the present.

There is little disagreement that Emerson was the most influential writer of 19th-century America, though these days he is largely the concern of scholars. Walt Whitman , Henry David Thoreau and William James were all positive Emersonians, while Herman Melville , Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James were Emersonians in denial—while they set themselves in opposition to the sage, there was no escaping his influence.

Eliot , Emerson's essays were an "encumbrance. In his book The American Religion , Harold Bloom repeatedly refers to Emerson as "The prophet of the American Religion", which in the context of the book refers to indigenously American religions such as Mormonism and Christian Science , which arose largely in Emerson's lifetime, but also to mainline Protestant churches that Bloom says have become in the United States more gnostic than their European counterparts. In his belief that line lengths, rhythms, and phrases are determined by breath, Emerson's poetry foreshadowed the theories of Charles Olson.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the theologian, see Ralph Emerson theologian. For the botanist, see Ralph Emerson botanist. Ellen Louisa Tucker m. Works by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Poetry portal Biography portal. Archived from the original on February 3, The Making of a Democratic Intellectual. Boston Parks and Recreation Department.

Retrieved 11 July Harvard University — via Google Books. Literary Trail of Greater Boston. A Story of Ideas in America. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. In Search of Margaret Fuller. First Series ". The Bedside Baccalaureate , Sterling. India in the United States: Ralph Waldo Emerson in Europe: From Transcendentalism to Revolution. From Noon to Starry Night: A Life of Walt Whitman. The Early Years of the Saturday Club Letters of James Russel Lowell. Houghton Library, Harvard University: May-Day and Other Pieces.

The Conduct of Life. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A Western Journey with Mr. Little, Brown, and Company. An Anthology of Poetry". The Second Great Awakening and the Transcendentalists. Emerson in His Own Time. The Lives of the Poets. Archived from the original on Archived from the original on June 30, Find more about Ralph Waldo Emerson at Wikipedia's sister projects.

First Series Essays: Articles related to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Abovian Alencar Alfieri Andersen A. Schlegel Schopenhauer Schleiermacher Tieck Wackenroder. Hall of Fame for Great Americans. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Social and political philosophy. Jurisprudence Philosophy and economics Philosophy of education Philosophy of history Philosophy of love Philosophy of sex Philosophy of social science Political ethics Social epistemology. Contributions to liberal theory History of liberalism.

Anarcho-capitalism Classical liberalism Libertarianism Geolibertarianism Constitutional patriotism Civic nationalism Conservative liberalism Democratic liberalism Green liberalism Liberal feminism Equity feminism Liberal internationalism Liberal socialism Muscular liberalism Neoliberalism Ordoliberalism Radical centrism Radicalism Religious liberalism Christian Islamic Secular liberalism Social liberalism Technoliberalism.

Liberal bias in academia Liberal conservatism Liberal socialism National liberalism Regressive left. Modern Hindu writers to date. Hinduism Hinduism in the West Indian philosophy Indian religions.

List of modern Eastern religions writers List of writers on Hinduism. Retrieved from " https: Julian—Gregorian uncertainty Biography with signature Infobox person using alma mater Articles with hCards All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from July CS1 maint: Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikiquote Wikisource.

This page was last edited on 13 September , at By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Booknotes interview with Robert D. Volume IX — Poems.

Volume X — Lectures and Biographical Sketches. Volume XI — Miscellanies. Additional Material Abraham Lincoln Eulogy. Papers from the Dial. Meets one Saturday per Month.

The Ideal In America. All proceeds go to supporting RWE. Kindle Edition Is also available! The Ideal in America-Educator's Edition. The Ideal in America--Educator's Edition. Thank you for your support! The Method of Nature. Introductory Lecture on the Times.

IX New England Reformers. Uses of Great Men. Plato; or, the Philosopher. Swedenborg; or, the Mystic. Montaigne; or, the Skeptic. Shakspeare; or, the Poet.

The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Research the collective works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of the most beloved poets and writers in American history. Self Reliance and Nature are two of his most famous works. Find quotes, thoughts on life, and inspiration.

Privacy FAQs

Twelve-volume Concord Edition of The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

About Our Ads

List of Writings By Ralph Waldo Emerson The following are the texts available on this web site. For additional sites with Emerson materials please see the Ralph Waldo Emerson Home Page or The Transcendentalists web site. Scholars should cite the authoritative editions of Emerson’s writings as listed below. For a discussion of some issues raised concerning the editorial practices of the first two volumes of the Harvard edition of Collected Works, see .

Cookie Info

For the latest news in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing, follow Emerson College WLP on Facebook and Twitter. Develop your craft as a writer and your knowledge of literature and the world of publishing. We are focused on your individual voice and your particular talent. Ralph Waldo Emerson - Poet - American poet, essayist, and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in in Boston. Emerson wrote a poetic prose, ordering his essays by recurring themes and images. His poetry, on the other hand, is often called harsh and didactic.