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An introduction to Ralph Waldo Emerson The Transcendentalists Mrs. Jimenez English III.

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Presentation on theme: "An introduction to Ralph Waldo Emerson The Transcendentalists Mrs. Jimenez English III."— Presentation transcript:

1 An introduction to Ralph Waldo Emerson The Transcendentalists Mrs. Jimenez English III

2 Ralph Waldo Emerson b Known as the “Father of Transcendentalism” b Mentor to Henry David Thoreau

3 Emerson wrote essays b It is not what an author writes which makes him remembered, it is what he has to say…Emerson does not use the guise of storytelling. He writes his philosophy straightforward.

4 Titles of his essays... b Self-Reliance b Love b Friendship b Nature b Intellect b Art b Experience b The Over-Soul b Character b Gifts b Politics b Compensation b Heroism b and more!

5 A word on Emerson’s Essays “I read and reread Emerson because he is that almost extinct species, the reflective man of letters, the meditative essayist, the thoughtful writer of a prose which has…the magical effects of poetry.” ---Irwin Edman

6 A short Biography of Ralph Waldo Emerson Essayist, poet, philosopher...

7 I. Emerson’s Childhood b Born on May 25, 1803 b Fourth of eight children (3 died in infancy) b Father, William Emerson, was the sixth in a line of ministers b Strict, frugal household

8 I. Emerson’s Childhood Cont’d b Father died when Emerson was eight years old b His paternal aunt, Mary Moody Emerson, moved in to help with the children and became Emerson’s intellectual role model. b Mary Moody Emerson identified with the new views of the Romantic Age

9 II. Emerson’s Education b At the age of fourteen Emerson entered Harvard b He was “Class Poet”--after six classmates declined b Graduated in the middle of his class--30th out of 59 students

10 II. Emerson’s Education cont’d b More important was his informal education, both intellectual and emotional

11 III. Minister/Unitarianism b Emerson served as a guest minister for many years b In 1829 Emerson started to preach at his own pulpit

12 IV. Marriage b Emerson fell in love with Ellen Tucker b Married at age 26 b After six months, Ellen fell ill b She died after 2 years of marriage

13 IV. Marriage Cont’d b Emerson’s grief was strong and long lasting b A year after her death, he reopened Ellen’s coffin to deal with his grief b He quit his job as minister b Emerson used his remaining salary to sail to Europe on Christmas day for a 9 month stay

14 V. A New Life b Emerson returned in 1833 and began a new career as lecturer, essayist and poet b Ellen’s estate provided an annual salary, he supplemented it by giving guest sermons

15 V. A New Life Cont’d b Started to associate with intellectuals of Massachusetts b In 1835 married Lydia Jackson b Published his first work, “Nature” b In 1837, met Henry David Thoreau, who became his disciple

16 VI. The Transcendentalists b In the late 1830’s, Emerson became the “chief spokesperson for the Transcendentalists” b He gave many famous lectures which were later published b Very successful professionally

17 VII. Later Life b Emerson’s views became very controversial. He spoke out publicly against slavery and for women’s rights b Essays started to lose some vitality b Respected and honored for his intellectual contributions

18 VIII. Death of Emerson b In his last few years, Emerson suffered from aphasia (lose the power to comprehend or use words, usually resulting from a brain lesion) b Died on April 27, 1882 (at the age of 78)

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