15 Facts about Ralph Waldo Emerson | Mental Floss
Life and Times of Henry David Thoreau · Reflections on Walden used at Harvard--Ralph Waldo Emerson is supposed to have remarked that most of the . He worked for pay intermittently; he cultivated relationships with several of the town's. In his lifetime, Ralph Waldo Emerson became the most widely known man of letters in of “bildung,” or development, calling it the central purpose of human existence. Waldo, died at the age of five, an event that left deep scars on the couple and In , Emerson also purchased the land on the shore of Walden Pond. Born in Boston in , Ralph Waldo Emerson was a writer, lecturer, poet, and . The couple had four children—Waldo, Ellen, Edith, and Edward—and they named their No biography of writer and thinker Henry David Thoreau would be complete . These experts help clients set goals in every realm of life—from health to.
If man can reach this purity, he can find his soul. As mentioned above, Emerson expresses his feelings about in a reasonable way.
It can be seen that Emerson used both emotion and reason in his essays, which is related to transcendentalism movement. Also, in aspect of the theme, it is obvious that Emerson focuses on the self-reliance and its relation to the nature. He deals with the nature and man in a detailed way and connects these features to each other in a sensible way.
Briefly, Emerson writes how the nature serves to man, how man use the nature to live in morality and purity. This art of work is a product of a real experience and inspired by the transcendentalism movement. Not only his writing style is inspired by transcendentalism but also Thoreau applied this movement, idea in his life style and wanted to experience this idea. It can be said that transcendentalism is not only an idea for Thoreau, but it is also must be put into practice in real life and this shows his pragmatic approach.
Thoreau by living in a cabin for two years near Walden Pond which is formally owned by Emerson wanted to create his own perception of society and nature.
He focused on simple ways of living and self-sufficiency. Living with no money and alone, only with nature and understanding the society by this way was his main goal.
He shared his experiences in his book Walden.
He did not live in a wild environment as he mentioned also in his book, he lived near the town near a lake. He pragmatically wanted to see if living in this simplicity is really good or not.
In Walden, he firstly explains his plans for this two-year life in a cabin. In this simple life, he has just food, shelter, clothes and fuel. He supplies these with the help of his friends and family. In his work, he criticizes his neighbors who dedicate their lives to working for a better living. However, he, himself, also works for building his house and growing plants.
He writes everyday in this house in addition to daily routines like cleaning land, preparing and growing food. He reads many books and wishes a utopian world in which people are educated very well so the all of the people would be noble and wise.
One of the aspects Thoreau argued in his book is that transcendentalism is not only an idea and it is something also that must be lived, experienced and put into life. He explains his life in this cabin within the perspective of transcendentalism. He is delighted with the beauty of nature and his basic, simple daily routines.
He is delighted with not being in a rush, not being governed by money. Nature helps him to gain a more pure, clear, moral perspective and to analyze the real life by comparing it with his simple life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803—1882)
As a result, he criticizes the city life and its effects on the nature. Society and industry ruins the beauty and purity of the nature. For example, he is interrupted by the voices coming from trains, railway. 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 for both creative writing and "creative 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.
Always suspicious of reform and reformers, Emerson was yet an advocate of reform causes. 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 Series, inwhich 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 his 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.
In 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.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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 approaches 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 Series, eight essays and one public lecture, the titles indicating 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 s saw the publication of a number of distinctively American texts: Emerson's Representative Men failed to anticipate this flowering of a uniquely American literature in at least one respect: A Literary Landscape "Smith makes canny use of the voluminous personal journals of the two writers, weaving their published work with their personal jottings to track the constant oscillations of a problematic relationship.
Independent scholar Smith draws deeply on their journals and letters to chronicle the evolution of their friendship. The two drew so close, Smith maintains, that Thoreau began to "talk like Emerson and to use the same gestures," while Thoreau declared that they were "like gods to each other.
In spite of their closeness, however, their friendship suffered as well.
Thoreau tired of Emerson's insistence on mentoring him, and Emerson grew impatient with Thoreau's contentiousness. Moreover, Emerson's low opinion of Thoreau's writing fed Thoreau's animosity. The rift was healed, though, in when Emerson experienced a serious illness and Thoreau rushed to his side. Smith's study provides an instructive glimpse into the ways that the seeds of personal relationships produce the fruits of intellectual endeavor.
Recommended for large public and academic libraries.