Ralph Waldo Emerson And Transcendentalism Essay

1601 words - 6 pages

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Transcendentalism

     Ralph Waldo Emerson believed in the potential within every individual to achieve

a heightened state of being and awareness through a close observation of the

world and an introspective look at himself. Infused in his work are the

influences of transcendentalism and his life as a Unitarian pastor. James D.

Hart, when discussing the spirit of transcendentalism, states, "Man may fulfill

his divine potentialities either through a rapt mystical state, in which the

divine is infused into the human, or through coming into contact with the truth,

beauty, and goodness embodied in nature and originating in the Over-Soul. Thus

occurs the doctrine of correspondence between the tangible world and the human

mind, and the identity of moral and physical laws" (Hart 674). This concept is

the embodiment of Emerson's sermons and essays, and any one of his works

fulfills or inspires a divine potential.


"Self Reliance," published in 1841, is one of Emerson's most influential essays,

and its title addresses a central concept of American Transcendentalism. The

essay promotes self trust and independence of the individual, and this idea is

expressed in the final lines, "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing

can bring you peace but the triumph of the principal" (Lauter 1638). The

principal he refers to is a moral truth that can only be developed in one's own

mind. As man lives in search of this truth, he achieves human divinity. "There

is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy

is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better,

for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no

kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that

plot of ground which is given to him to till" (Lauter 1622-3). An inner truth is

derived from experience; one cannot rely on the words or ideas of others, and he

cannot be limited by old authorities. History, tradition, and the rest of

society are no longer his guides because one with a contrary insight may not

agree with their principles. "The objection to conforming to usages that have

become dead to is, is, that it scatters your force" (Lauter 1625). If man

develops his own morals they are more significant to him, and he will have a

better chance of honoring the Over-Soul.


Emerson preached, "In listening more intently to our own soul we are not

becoming in the ordinary sense more selfish, but are departing farther from what

is low and falling back upon truth and upon God. For the whole value of the soul

depends on the fact that it contains a divine principle that it is a house of

God, and the voice of the eternal inhabitant may always be heard within...

Find Another Essay On Ralph Waldo Emerson and Transcendentalism

Ralph Waldo Emerson; Aspects of Transcendentalism

1105 words - 5 pages literature, before the movement contained materialistic and overdramatized sermons and prose, which spoke of damnation. 2. The introduction into a philosophy where divinity, self-improvement, and all-knowing intuition that possible for humanity, allowed the movement to be widely accepted. D. The fundamental figure of the movement was poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1. Emerson, a demonstrative individual in club, loved the disturbance

Ralph Waldo Emerson: Aspects of Transcendentalism

1885 words - 8 pages With the continuous evolvement of the English language, literary movements played a key role in the development of modern day literature. Ralph Waldo Emerson, a successful essayist and poet, enacted the one of these movements known as Transcendentalism in the early 19th century. With the creation of one influential progression of literature in American history, Emerson and fellow Transcendentalists helped develop American tenets. One of the most

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Trancendentalism

1183 words - 5 pages Ralph Waldo Emerson is known as the father of Transcendentalism, a philosophical movement based on feelings rather than logic, it is a movement for the nonconformists and unique thinkers. Transcendentalism’s main ideas are individualism, intuition, imagination, idealism, and inspiration. When Emerson created the movement in the nineteenth century he was a well known writer and is still today a prominent figure in American Literature

Trascendentalism and Ralph Waldo Emerson

1732 words - 7 pages There have been countless religious rebellions throughout history, but none quite like that of Transcendentalism. At the time of the movement’s birth, newly acquired religious freedom in the United States allowed for new ideas and beliefs to blossom freely. Ideas and beliefs that the public and government previously greeted with bitter rejection. At the heart of Transcendentalism lied its most famous ambassadors, Ralph Waldo Emerson and his

Ralph Waldo Emerson and David Thoreau the center of the Transcendentalism

792 words - 4 pages Ralph Waldo Emerson and David Thoreau both lived during the 1800s in Massachusetts, United States of America. Both of them were leaders of the transcendental movement that happened in the U.S. in XIX-th century. This brought into the social life of Americans a new philosophy not only in religion and literary aspect. Waldo Emerson was seen as the center of the transcendentalism as he built and promoted most of the transcendental ideas and

Ralph Waldo Emerson

1357 words - 5 pages Ralph Waldo Emerson was a famous American lecturer. He was also a great essayist and poet. His writings ( which were part of the transcendentalism movement ) influenced American literature.Ralp Emerson in a lot of cases is referred to as the leader in transcendentaism.Transcendentalism was a religous, literary, and philosophical movement that flourished between 1836 and 1844 ( " Ralph Emerson ",Encarta ). When Emerson's essay "Nature" was

The Transcendentalist Movent and Ralph Waldo Emerson

2132 words - 9 pages embodied the transcendentalist movement (Wayne “Ralph Waldo Emerson” 98). “Ralph Waldo Emerson was the intellectual center of American transcendentalism and one of the most important writers and thinkers in American literary history” (Wayne “Ralph Waldo Emerson” 98). Mary Moody Emerson, Emerson’s aunt, had the most influence on his philosophical and intellectual development (Wayne “Ralph Waldo Emerson” 98). Although Ralph Waldo Emerson got his

Ralph Waldo Emerson

930 words - 4 pages Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 25, 1803. He was the son of William and Ruth Emerson and was born second of five sons who made it to adulthood. The other four sons were named William, Edward, Robert Bulkeley, and Charles. Mr. and Mrs. Emerson also had three other children who sadly died during their childhood. Those three were named Phebe, John Clarke, and Mary Caroline. Emerson’s father died of stomach cancer two

Anne Bradstreet and Ralph Waldo Emerson

644 words - 3 pages purpose of establishing a Puritan colony. She and her family had a difficult journey. During her timeline, she made about sixteen poems based of mostly her life experience and her family. After their raised own family, she has about eight of her love children. As life goes on, Anne Bradstreet had passed away at age of sixty in 1672 in Massachusetts. Another author studied this year is Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ralph Waldo Emerson lived during the

Emerson, Ralph Waldo

1695 words - 7 pages Ralph Waldo EmersonRalph Waldo Emerson is probably the most influential figure in American literary history. He was responsible for shaping the literary style and vision of the American Romantic Period. Nowadays, when we think of Transcendentalism we think immediately of Emerson. We think of Emerson because transcendental thought is most clearly expressed in his writings.As with all great writers, the events in Emerson's life have greatly

Ralph waldo Emerson

1592 words - 6 pages cultural relationships by using Kenneth W. Cameron's fascinating source books that reprint contemporary materials, such as Emerson Among His Contemporaries (Hartford: Transcendental Books, 1967), or Ralph Waldo Emerson's Reading (Hartford: Transcendental Books, 1962), or Emerson the Essayist (Raleigh: Thistle Press, 1945).Major Themes, Historical Perspectives, and Personal IssuesEmerson's concern with proposing the active power of language--both

Similar Essays

Transcendentalism And Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

2310 words - 9 pages Transcendentalism and Ralph Waldo Emerson             Transcendentalism was a literary movement that began in the beginning of the 1800’s and lasted up until the Civil War. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a man whose views on life and the universe were intriguing and influential. Emerson, along with other great men, helped to mold what Transcendentalism was and what it was to become. Without these men, Transcendentalism would not have been anything

Transcendentalism: Ralph Waldo Emerson And Christopher Mc Candless

808 words - 4 pages “Everyman, I will go with thee and by thy guide, in thy most need to go by thy side,” said Anonymous while talking about the great Ralph Waldo Emerson. One of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s pieces of literature is The American Scholar. This connects to one of Jon Krakuaer’s famous novel Into the Wild. All of these pieces connect because they all show transcendentalism. I think that McCandless has a great deal of respect for Franz. In the letter

Transcendendalist Theories And Beliefs, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau, Transcendentalism Today

518 words - 3 pages In the world of Ralph Waldo Emerson, "nothing is more simple than greatness, to be simple is to be great". Emerson believed in simplifying life, he believed that the less possessions a person had the less they had to worry about. He developed a new and creative way of philosophy titled transcendentalism. Transcendentalism dealt with finding joy in nature, simplicity, and individualism.Simplicity is the state of being simple, uncomplicated, or

Ralph Waldo Emerson: Aspects Of Transcendentalism

2376 words - 10 pages With the continuous evolvement of the English language, literary movements played a key role in the development of modern day literature. During the early 19th century, Ralph Waldo Emerson, a successful essayist and poet, founded one of these in movements known as Transcendentalism. With the creation of one of the most influential progression of literature in American history, Emerson, and fellow Transcendentalists helped develop American tenets