Abounding with short aphorisms, the essay begins with an admonition to believe in the true self, which is considered in essence identical with the Universal Spirit:
His father, pastor of the First Unitarian Church of Boston, chaplain of the Massachusetts Senate, and an editor of Monthly Anthology, a literary review, once described two-year-old son Waldo as "a rather dull scholar. Through the persistence of these two women, he completed studies at the Boston Public Latin School.
Emerson entered Harvard College on a scholarship inand during collegiate holidays he taught school.
An unremarkable student, he made no particular impression on his contemporaries. Inhe graduated thirteenth in his class ofand he was elected class poet only after six other students declined the honor. It was at Harvard that he began keeping his celebrated journals. He began to suffer from symptoms of tuberculosis, and in the fall of he went to Georgia and Florida in hopes of improving his health.
He returned in late December to Boston, where he preached occasionally. In Concord, New Hampshire, he met Ellen Tucker, a seventeen-year-old poet who also suffered from tuberculosis.
The two were married in Septemberjust after Emerson had been ordained pastor of the Second Unitarian Church of Boston. They were very happy in the marriage, but, unfortunately, both were also quite ill with tuberculosis; inafter less than two years of marriage, Ellen died.
By the end of the following year, Emerson had resigned his pastorate at Second Unitarian Church.
Among his reasons for resigning were his refusal to administer the sacrament of the Last Supper, which he believed to be an unnecessary theological rite, and his belief that the ministry was an "antiquated profession.
While in Europe, he met many of the leading thinkers of his time, including the economist and philosopher John Stuart Mill; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whose Aids to Reflection Emerson admired; the poet William Wordsworth; and Thomas Carlyle, the historian and social critic, with whom Emerson established a lifelong friendship.
After his return from Europe in the fall ofEmerson began a career as a public lecturer with an address in Boston. One of his first lectures, "The Uses of Natural History," attempted to humanize science by explaining that "the whole of Nature is a metaphor or image of the human mind," an observation that he would often repeat.
Other lectures followed — on diverse subjects such as Italy, biography, English literature, the philosophy of history, and human culture. In SeptemberEmerson moved to Concord, Massachusetts, as a boarder in the home of his step-grandfather, Ezra Ripley.
On September 14,he married Lydia Jackson of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and they moved into a house of their own in Concord, where they lived for the rest of their lives.
Although only a slim volume, it contains in brief the whole substance of his thought. It sold very poorly — after twelve years, its first edition of copies had not yet sold out.
A year after he made this speech, he was invited back to Harvard to speak to the graduating class of Harvard Divinity School.
His address, which advocated intuitive, personal revelation, created such an uproar that he was not invited back to his alma mater for thirty years. Inhe helped launch The Dial, a journal of literature, philosophy, and religion that focused on transcendentalist views.
After the first two years, he succeeded Fuller as its editor.
The Dial was recognized as the official voice of transcendentalism, and Emerson became intimately associated with the movement. Two years later, however, the journal ceased publication.
InEmerson published the first volume of his Essays, a carefully constructed collection of some of his best-remembered writings, including "Self-Reliance" and "The Over-Soul. Emerson would later write "Threnody," an elegy expressing his grief for Waldo; the poem was included in his collection Poems Ellen, Edith, and Edward Waldo, his other children, survived to adulthood.
InEmerson again traveled abroad, lecturing in England with success. He renewed his friendship with Carlyle, met other notable English authors, and collected materials for English Traits, which was eventually published in Emerson's first substantial publication was a volume of Essays that issued from the presses in There were twelve essays in this volume the very first being one entitled "History".
This essay sets out a transcendentalist approach to History where the "innate Humanity" that is common to all of mankind is seen as operating throughout the.
The irony that British essayist Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus () inspired Emerson’s essay “Heroism” is compounded by the fact that virtually simultaneously with this essay, Carlyle published On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History (), expanding on the very ideas Emerson distilled.
Indeed, Carlyle’s wife once complained . If you are a teacher searching for educational material, please visit PBS LearningMedia for a wide range of free digital resources spanning preschool through 12th grade.
Complete summary of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self-Reliance. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Self-Reliance. Because of the inherent moral sentiment, which partakes of the. Self Reliance and Other Essays study guide contains a biography of Ralph Emerson, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Self Reliance and Other Essays Summary and Analysis of Self-Reliance. and in lectures on the philosophy of history given at Boston's . Emily Dickinson () A selective list of online literary criticism for the nineteenth-century American poet Emily Dickinson, with links to reliable biographical and introductory material and signed, peer-reviewed literary criticism.