Essays - First Series

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CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016 M02 4 - 120 pages
Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the United States' most well known authors, and one whose work is still read by every student in the country. Emerson was a lecturer, essayist and poet who became the champion of individualism and ended up becoming the Father of the Transcendentalist movement by the mid-1830s. By the middle of the century, he had published dozens of essays and given thousands of lectures on topics like self-reliance, avoiding conformity, and highlighting the connection between men and their environment. When asked to sum up his work, Emerson explained that he believed in the "infinitude of the private man."
Emerson's most groundbreaking work was Nature, an essay that became the foundation of Transcendentalism. Nature espoused an appreciation of nature and argued that there were inherent ties between nature and life, and Nature is often considered the first truly "American" work, in the sense that it did not derive its topic or writing style from Europe first. It also reflected the unique natural environments found across America. Henry David Thoreau was heavily influenced by Nature, which he read while at Harvard. Thoreau later became a prot g of Emerson's and went on to live at and write about Walden as a result.
In 1844, Emerson collected his lectures, poems, and writings and transformed them into the First Series and Second Series of Essays. The Essays discuss Emerson's views concerning transcendentalism. Some of the most notable essays in the collection are The American Scholar, Nature, Self-Reliance, Compensation, The Over-Soul, and Circles.

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About the author (2016)

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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