Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ralph Waldo Emerson-Final Report-Jimmie Harrison (Section 11 Exemptee)


Ralph Waldo Emerson was at the forefront of an era where American literature was just beginning to take form.  As a Bostonian, Emerson grew up with a single mother because his father died in 1811 leaving the family with little resources to sustain themselves; he also only had one sibling make it past the age of thirty to continue on to a long, healthy career.  Thanks to his aunt, Mary Moody Emerson, Ralph learned to embrace learning at a young age.  At the age of 9, he entered the prestigious Boston Latin School; and he was admitted into Harvard University at only 14 years old.  After he graduated, he became a schoolteacher before deciding to follow in his ancestor’s footsteps of becoming a minister in 1826.  While preaching in New Hampshire, Emerson met Ellen Tucker, whom he considered the great love of his life.  They settled in Massachusetts, but two short years later Ellen died of tuberculosis amidst a rough patch in Ralph’s preaching career.  As a result of this devastation to his faith, Ralph decided to tour Europe for a couple years.  He saw all of the great sites, Paris and the museums of Italy.  Also, in England, he met Samuel Taylor Coleridge; William Wordsworth; and Thomas Carlyle.  Upon his return to America, Emerson found himself financially stable thanks to an inheritance from his late wife.  This marks the beginning of his creative period where the Transcendentalist movement takes shape.  
The writers associated with this movement all held a uniform belief that everyone could move beyond the physical world of our senses into deeper spiritual experiences through free will and intuition.  It is also when Emerson remarried to Lydia Jackson with whom he had four children.  The rest of his life Emerson made a living from public speaking, publishing his writing, and serving as the editor for a magazine he helped create, The Dial.  To the end of his days, Ralph Waldo Emerson never stopped writing or transcending his thoughts for the betterment of himself.


All of my sources come from the following:

Emerson, Ralph Waldo and Peter Norberg. Essays and Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson: Introduction and Notes by Peter Norberg. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2004. Print.

1 comment:

  1. One of the finest things ever written about RWE was William James's oration on the centenary of his death.

    "...What gave a flavor so matchless to Emerson's individuality was, even more than his rich mental gifts, their singularly harmonious combination. Rarely has a man so accurately known the limits of his genius or so unfailingly kept with them. "Stand by your order," he used to say to youthful students; and perhaps the paramount impression one gets of his life is of his loyalty to his own personal type and mission. The type was that of what he liked to call a scholar, the perceiver of pure truth; and the mission was that of the reporter in worthy form of each perception. The day is good, he said, in which we have the most perceptions. There are times when the cawing of a crow, a weed, a snowflake, or a farmer planting in his field become symbols to the intellect of truths equal to those which the most majestic phenomena can open. Let me mind my own charge, then, walk alone, consult the sky, the field and forest, sedulously waiting every morning for the news concerning the structure of the universe which the good Spirit will give me...."

    Continues here: http://www.iupui.edu/~arisbe/menu/library/aboutcsp/James/1903EM.htm

    ReplyDelete