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Ralph Waldo Emerson.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson. Essays.
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About the author
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25,
1803–April 27, 1882) was a famous
American essayist and one of
America's most influential thinkers
Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a Unitarian minis-
ter and would later become a Unitarian minister himself. Emerson
eventually, however, broke away from the doctrine of his superiors and
formulated and expressed the philosophy of Transcendentalism in his
1836 essay Nature.
In 1810, when Emerson was eight years old, his father died. His
father complained that Emerson couldn't read well enough when he
was 3 years old. In October of 1817, at the age of 14, Emerson went to
Harvard University and was appointed President's Freshman, a posi-
tion which gave him a room free of charge. He waited at Commons,
which reduced the cost of his board to one quarter, and he received a
scholarship. He added to his slender means by tutoring and by teach-
ing during the winter vacations at his Uncle Ripley's school in Waltham,
After Emerson graduated from Harvard, he assisted his brother in
a school for young ladies established in their mother's house; when his
brother went to Göttingen to study divinity, Emerson took charge of
the school. Over the next several years, Emerson made his living as a
died in February of 1831.
In 1832–33, Emerson toured Europe, a trip that he would later
write about in English Traits (1856). During this trip, he met
Wordsworth, Coleridge, John Stuart Mill, and Thomas Carlyle. Emerson
maintained a correspondence with Carlyle until Carlyle's death in
In 1835, Emerson bought a house on the Cambridge Turnpike, in
Concord, Massachusetts. He quickly became one of the leading citi-
zens in the town.
In 1836, Emerson and other lik