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Ralph Waldo Emerson By: Cris Wein, David Wolfe, Lizzie Beers, Caroline Ball, and Emma Berger.

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Presentation on theme: "Ralph Waldo Emerson By: Cris Wein, David Wolfe, Lizzie Beers, Caroline Ball, and Emma Berger."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ralph Waldo Emerson By: Cris Wein, David Wolfe, Lizzie Beers, Caroline Ball, and Emma Berger

2 Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25th, 1803 right here in Boston. He was the fourth out of eight children, and at the age of eight, his father died. This resulted in severe poverty for Emerson, and on some days the family would have nothing to eat. Although he was poor, his social status and family history led him to attend Harvard at the age of 14. At Harvard, he kept a journal with him at all times, which he would not only write in, but also draw pictures and illustrations because he desired to be a painter He graduated college at 18, and with the pressure of his Aunt Mary to become a minister, he attended Harvard Divinity School. Emerson's Early Life

3 Emerson's Early Life Cont. He fell ill in fall of 1826, and moved to South Carolina and started preaching In 1829, he became the associate minister at the Second church in Boston, and in the same year he married Ellen Louisa Tucker. The next year, Emerson became the full minister and rather than preaching from the biblical texts, he used some of his own ideas to spice up the presentations. After the death of his wife in 1831, Emerson resigned as minister because he started doubting God and started his tour in Europe, where he wrote about his affairs in "English Traits."

4 Emerson's Later Life

5 Timeline resigned his pastorate 1830s - Lyceum published Nature The American Scholar Self-Reliance and Oversoul Hails Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation with "Boston Hymn" Dies

6 Lyceum System of lecturing that developed in the 1920's and 1930's Local lecture clubs paid for speakers to come, Emerson among them Spoke about non-traditional ideas and sometimes baffled his listeners Offered lecturing courses once he became popular These lectures grew into essays and books which he published often beginning in the 1840s Made a respectable salary from lecturing

7 About His Works Nature (1836): Transcendentalist and very "American" ideas.The ideas were so radical at the time, that Emerson originally published it anonymously. Self-Reliance (1841): The need for the individual to avoid conformity, to have original ideas, and to avoid false consistency. His ideas were very new at the time. Over-soul (1841): All humans are connected through a "universal" soul. People must transcend themselves to understand and accept views of the world. The American Scholar (1837): Delivered this speech to the Phi Beta Kappa Society oration at Harvard in The address praised individualism and humanized Jesus. Emerson's ideas were very controversial at the time because they went against Christian orthodox ideas. He wasn't invited back to Harvard for another 30 years.

8 Public Response to him/ his Work People thought there was humor in his work. Not a good response to his speech at Harvard called "The American Scholar" People went to his speeches because they were uplifting He inspired people to believe that God is in everyone People felt that Emerson's work was hard to understand both during his time as well as today He gave lectures for 40 years, giving 1500 public lectures, he traveled as far as California and Canada but normally stayed in Massachusetts His radical ideas were misunderstood

9 Influences on Emerson's Work

10 Aunt Mary Moody Emerson Aunt Mary Moody Emerson was large influence on his childhood, helped to raise him. Wasn't formally educated, but was eccentric, intelligent, + read the work of the great thinkers of her time. Emerson wrote an essay about his aunt in honor of her. Introduced Emerson to the Hindu Scriptures + Neoplatonism; ideas of Hinduism would later appear in his work "His notebooks impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit." - Self Reliance Theme of intelligence not necessarily coming from schooling (society's view) inspired by his Aunt.

11 Death of Ellen Tucker Wife Ellen Tucker died 1.5 yrs after their marriage in Only time that Emerson truly fell in love After death, Emerson's religious doubts began to develop. Resigned from position as a unitarian minister in 1832, and his work after Tucker's death showed his doubts in the Holy Communion. Ex) The American Scholar in 1837 Remarried to Lydia Jackson in 1835, but was out of comfort + they weren't passionate.

12 Henry David Thoreau Emerson + Thoreau met in 1834 Emerson lived in Concord with Thoreau for some time and Emerson, 14 yrs older than Thoreau, was Thoreau's mentor. Emerson pushed Thoreau to keep a journal. Although there were many rough points in their friendship, when Emerson delivered Thoreau's eulogy on May 6, 1862 Emerson referred to Thoreau as his best friend. Emerson and Thoreau greatly influenced one another.

13 Emerson's Legacy Recognized as builder of American intellectual culture His book Nature (1836) said to have initiated transcendentalism in New England Started the Transcendentalist movement in America Influenced generations of theosophists, religious environmentalists, new agers, etc. His works Poems (1847) and May-Day (1867) established him as poet Became internationally famous (unlike most American writers from his time) from books of essays (1841 and 1844)

14 Emerson's Legacy (continued) Unitarian Universalist History Society says he's the "most recognized and revered figure in the Unitarian Movement" (although he left religion after Tucker's death) Emerson is said to have created "chief legacies" for himself including his emphasis of self- reliance/nonconformity, like of American literature, insistence of man's original connection to God, and incredible optimism Inspired Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman

15 Bibliography " Ralph Waldo Emerson Biography - Biography.com." Biography.com. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 22 Sept Higgins, Richard. "uuworld.org : ralph waldo emerson's unitarian legacy." uuworld.org : liberal religion and life. UU World Magazine, n.d. Web. 22 Sept Brewton, Vince. " Emerson, Ralph Waldo [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. N.p., 24 July Web. 22 Sept "God In America: People: Ralph Waldo Emerson | PBS." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept Schulman, Frank. "Ralph Waldo Emerson." Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography. Unitrian Universalist History and Heritage Society (UUHHS), n.d. Web. 22 Sept "Ralph Waldo Emerson". Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, "Gale Biography in Context." Web. 22 Sept


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