Essays and English Traits: Harvard Classics 1909

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Kessinger Publishing, Jan 1, 2004 - Literary Collections - 500 pages
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At the time of Emerson's death, he was recognized as the foremost writer and thinker of his country; but this recognition had come only gradually. The candor and the vigor of his thinking had led him often to champion unpopular causes, and during his earlier years of authorship his departures form Unitarian orthodoxy were viewed with hostility and alarm. The spirit and ideas which constitute the essence of his teaching are fully expressed in the essays contained in this volume. Contents: American Scholar; An Address; Man the Reformer; Self-Reliance; Compensation; Friendship; Heroism; The Over-Soul; Circles; The Poet; Character; Manners; Gifts; Nature; Politics; New England Reformers; Worship; Beauty.

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About the author (2004)

Known primarily as the leader of the philosophical movement transcendentalism, which stresses the ties of humans to nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and essayist, was born in Boston in 1803. From a long line of religious leaders, Emerson became the minister of the Second Church (Unitarian) in 1829. He left the church in 1832 because of profound differences in interpretation and doubts about church doctrine. He visited England and met with British writers and philosophers. It was during this first excursion abroad that Emerson formulated his ideas for Self-Reliance. He returned to the United States in 1833 and settled in Concord, Massachusetts. He began lecturing in Boston. His first book, Nature (1836), published anonymously, detailed his belief and has come to be regarded as his most significant original work on the essence of his philosophy of transcendentalism. The first volume of Essays (1841) contained some of Emerson's most popular works, including the renowned Self-Reliance. Emerson befriended and influenced a number of American authors including Henry David Thoreau. It was Emerson's practice of keeping a journal that inspired Thoreau to do the same and set the stage for Thoreau's experiences at Walden Pond. Emerson married twice (his first wife Ellen died in 1831 of tuberculosis) and had four children (two boys and two girls) with his second wife, Lydia. His first born, Waldo, died at age six. Emerson died in Concord on April 27, 1882 at the age of 78 and is buried in Sleepy Hollow.

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