Origins and Character What we now know as transcendentalism first arose among the liberal New England Congregationalists, who departed from orthodox Calvinism in two respects: Most of the Unitarians held that Jesus was in some way inferior to God the Father but still greater than human beings; a few followed the English Unitarian Joseph Priestley — in holding that Jesus was thoroughly human, although endowed with special authority. It was precisely on this ground, however, that the transcendentalists found fault with Unitarianism. Skepticism about religion was also engendered by the publication of an English translation of F.
References and Further Reading 1. The cultural milieu of Boston at the turn of the nineteenth century would increasingly be marked by the conflict between its older conservative values and the radical reform movements and social idealists that emerged in the decades leading up through the s.
Emerson was one of five surviving sons who formed a supportive brotherhood, the financial and emotional leadership of which he was increasingly forced to assume over the years. Graduating in the middle of his class, Emerson taught in his brother William's school until when he entered the Divinity School at Harvard.
The pattern of Emerson's intellectual life was shaped in these early years by the range and depth of his extracurricular reading in history, literature, philosophy, and religion, the extent of which took a severe toll on his eyesight and health.
Equally important to his intellectual development was the influence of his paternal aunt Mary Moody Emerson.
Though she wrote primarily on religious subjects, Mary Moody Emerson set an example for Emerson and his brothers with her wide reading in every branch of knowledge and her stubborn insistence that they form opinions on all of the issues of the day. Mary Moody Emerson was at the same time passionately orthodox in religion and a lover of controversy, an original thinker tending to a mysticism that was a precursor to her nephew's more radical beliefs.
His aunt's influence waned as he developed away from her strict orthodoxy, but her relentless intellectual energy and combative individualism left a permanent stamp on Emerson as a thinker.
Inhe accepted a call to serve as junior pastor at Boston's Second Church, serving only until when he resigned at least in part over his objections to the validity of the Lord's Supper.
Emerson would in refuse a call as minister to East Lexington Church but did preach there regularly until InEmerson married Ellen Tucker who died the following year of tuberculosis.
Emerson married again in to Lydia Jackson. Together they had four children, the eldest of whom, Waldo, died at the age of five, an event that left deep scars on the couple and altered Emerson's outlook on the redemptive value of suffering.
In Emerson delivered his famous "American Scholar" lecture as the Phi Beta Kappa address at Harvard, but his controversial Harvard Divinity School address, delivered inwas the occasion of a twenty-nine year breach with the university and signaled his divergence from even the liberal theological currents of Cambridge.
Compelled by financial necessity to undertake a career on the lecture circuit, Emerson began lecturing in earnest in and kept a demanding public schedule until While providing Emerson's growing family and array of dependents with a steady income, the lecture tours heightened public awareness of Emerson's ideas and work.
First Series was published infollowed by Essays: Second Series inthe two volumes most responsible for Emerson's reputation as a philosopher. InEmerson also purchased the land on the shore of Walden Pond where he was to allow the naturalist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau to build a cabin the following year.
While sympathetic to the experimental collective at Brook Farm, Emerson declined urgent appeals to join the group and maintained his own household in Concord with Lydia and their growing family.
Emerson attempted to create his own community of kindred spirits, however, assembling in the neighborhood of Concord a group of writers including Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the social thinker Margaret Fuller, the reformer Bronson Alcott, and the poet Ellery Channing.
English Traits was inspired by a trip to Britain during By the s, Emerson was an outspoken advocate of abolition in lectures across New England and the Midwest and continued lecturing widely on a number of different topics—eighty lectures in alone.
Emerson spent the final years of his life peacefully but without full use of his faculties. He died of pneumonia in at his home in Concord. Major Works As a philosopher, Emerson primarily makes use of two forms, the essay and the public address or lecture.
His career began, however, with a short book, Nature, published anonymously in Nature touches on many of the ideas to which he would return to again and again over his lifetime, most significantly the perspective that nature serves as an intermediary between human experience and what lies beyond nature.
Emerson invokes the "transparent eye-ball" to describe the loss of individuation in the experience of nature, where there is no seer, only seeing: While Emerson characterizes traversing the common with mystical language, it is also importantly a matter of knowledge. The fundamental knowledge of nature that circulates through him is the basis of all human knowledge but cannot be distinguished, in Emerson's thought, from divine understanding.
The unity of nature is the unity of variety, and "each particle is a microcosm. Man ought to live in a original relation to the universe, an assault on convention he repeats in various formulas throughout his life; however, "man is the dwarf of himself. Emerson begins with a familiar critique of American and particularly New England culture by asserting that Americans were "a people too busy to give to letters any more.
Continuing in this theme, Emerson argues against book knowledge entirely and in favor of lived experience:Spirituality and Science are both valid! Our coverage of the Faith versus Reason Debate begins with a brief overview of the Spirituality taught by Christianity and of the, highly similar, Spiritualities upheld by ALL of the non-Christian World Religions.
Repeatedly throughout “Self-Reliance,” Emerson returns to these ideas and themes to support his point that fortune and peace is attainable only through reliance on and trust in one’s self. His work is a direct reflection of the ideals brought forth by Transcendentalism mostly in part because Emerson himself was at the helm of the movement as its most .
Self-Analysis on Subject Me - My subject of self-analysis is myself. I am currently twenty six years old. I am a college student that is pursuing a degree in psychology and human service.
Ralph Waldo Emerson. BUY SHARE.
Ralph Waldo Emerson died in , but he is still very much with us. When you hear people assert their individualism, perhaps in rejecting help from the government or anyone else, you hear the voice of Emerson. In "Self-Reliance," philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson argues that polite society has an adverse effect on one's personal growth. Ralph Waldo Emerson American transcendentalist who was against slavery and stressed self-reliance, optimism, self-improvement, self-confidence, and freedom. He was a prime example of a transcendentalist and helped further the movement.
BUY! Home; Literature Notes; Emerson's Essays Critical Essays Understanding Transcendentalism Bookmark this The doctrine of self-reliance mutated from an expression of moral integrity to a simple assertion of self-promotion and selfishness.
The 19th Century Evolution of Transcendentalism. Ralph Waldo Emerson ( - ) is today the most readily recognized propagator and champion of 19th century Transcendentalist thought. "Self-Reliance" is an essay written by American transcendentalist philosopher and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson.
It contains the most thorough statement of one of Emerson's recurrent themes, the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow their own instincts and ideas.