Compensation and Self-Reliance

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Cosimo, Inc., 2005 M09 1 - 68 pages
"Man is his own star." - Ralph Waldo EmersonProbably no writer has so profoundly influenced American philosophy and literature, as did Emerson. Known as The Father of Transcendentalism, he was the focal point of a small group of intellectuals reacting against the orthodoxy of the established religions of his era. As an active lecturer in the early 1830s, he delivered a number of landmark lectures, most notably among them - Compensation and Self-Reliance, in which Emerson fervently declares man's inherent divinity. By positing that the way to realization lay solely within, man can be fulfilled only through one's own "self-induced and self-devised efforts." Marked by a deep compassion and insight, Compensation and Self-Reliance rings like a clarion-call - one Emerson intoned steadily throughout his life. Though his last years were marked by a decline in his mental powers, his reputation as one of the outstanding figures of American letters was all but assured by the time of his death.RALPH WALDO EMERSON, 1803-82, was an American poet and essayist. Universally known as the "Sage of Concord," Emerson established himself as a leading spokesman of transcendentalism and as a major figure in American literature. His additional works include a series of lectures published as Representative Men (1850), The Conduct of Life (1860), and Society and Solitude (1870).
 

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Contents

Section 1
5
Section 2
23
Section 3
31
Section 4
55
Section 5
64
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About the author (2005)

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 due to pneumonia and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.

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