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Ralph Waldo Emerson


Quotes: A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five ... Best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Born in Boston
  • Son of the a Unitarian minister in a famous line
    of ministers
  • Emerson's father died less than two weeks before
    his 8th birthday
  • At fourteen, Emerson went to Harvard College
    where waited tables at Commons, a dining hall at
    Harvard and supplemented complement by teaching
    during the winter vacation

  • After graduation, Emerson made his living as a
  • Went back to Harvard Divinity School, became
    Unitarian minister in 1829
  • A dispute with church officials led to his
    resignation in 1832
  • Formulated and first expressed the philosophy of
    Transcendentalism in his 1836 essay
  • His first wife, Ellen Louisa Tucker, died of
    tuberculosis at 19

  • In 1835, Emerson bought a house in Concord
  • Married his second wife Lydia Jackson
  • Children were Waldo, Ellen, Edith, and Edward
    Waldo Emerson
  • Ellen was named for his first wife, at the
    suggestion of Lydia

  • In 1838 he was invited back to Harvard for the
    graduation address
  • His remarks outraged and shocked the whole
    Protestant community at the time because he
    proclaimed that Jesus was a great man, but not
  • He was denounced as an atheist
  • By the mid-1880s his position had become standard
    Unitarian doctrine
  • Emerson made a living as a popular lecturer in
    the country outside of the South because of his
    anti-slavery position

  • Emerson associated with Nathaniel Hawthorne and
    Henry David Thoreau
  • The land on which Thoreau built his cabin on
    Walden Pond belonged to Emerson and he provided
    food and hired Thoreau to perform odd jobs
  • Their close relationship fractured after Emerson
    gave Thoreau the poor advice to publish his first
  • Eventually the two would reconcile some of their
    differences, although Thoreau privately accused
    Emerson of having drifted from his original
  • Emerson began to view Thoreau as a misanthrope
    Emerson's eulogy to Thoreau is largely credited
    with the latter's negative reputation during the
    19th century.

  • Emerson is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in

Quotes A hero is no braver than an ordinary man,
but he is braver five minutes longer.
The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we
counted our spoons.
I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.
  • Best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple
    living in natural surroundings, and his essay,
    Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual
    resistance to the government in moral opposition
    to an unjust state.

Henry David Thoreau
  • Born in Concord, MA to John Thoreau and Cynthia
    Dunbar in1817
  • Father, John, was a pencil maker
  • His maternal grandfather, Asa Dunbar, was known
    for leading Harvard's 1766 student Bread and
    Butter Rebellion, the first recorded student
    protest in the United States
  • Classically educated at Harvard
  • Operated a school with his brother, John, until
    Johns death from tetanus
  • Thoreau returned home to Concord, where he became
    friends with Emerson who took a paternal and at
    times patronizing interest in Thoreau
  • Of the many prominent authors who lived in
    Concord, Thoreau was the only town native.

  • From 1841-1844, Thoreau joined the Emerson
    household to serve as the childrens tutor,
    editorial assistant, and repair man/gardener.
  • For a few months in 1843, he moved to the home of
    William Emerson in New York, tutoring the family
    sons while writing
  • Thoreau returned to Concord and worked in his
    family's pencil factory, which he would continue
    to do for most of his adult life
  • Thoreau embarked on a two-year experiment in
    simple living on July 4, 1845
  • The house was not in wilderness but at the edge
    of town, 1.5 miles from his family home
  • Thoreau refused to pay taxes because of his
    opposition to the Mexican-American War and
    slavery, and he spent a night in jail because of
    this refusal

  • Left Walden Pond on September 6, 1847
  • Over several years, he worked to pay off his
    debts revised his manuscript
  • In 1854, he published Walden, or Life in the
    Woods, the time he had spent at Walden Pond. The
    book compresses that time into a single calendar
    year, using the passage of four seasons to
    symbolize human development.
  • Walden at first won few admirers, but today it is
    regarded as a classic that explores natural
    simplicity, harmony, and beauty as models for
    just social and cultural conditions.

  • He died on May 6, 1862 at the age of 44.
  • Originally buried in the Dunbar family plot, he
    and members of his immediate family were
    eventually moved to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in

Quotes Do not be too moral. You may cheat
yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be
not simply good be good for something.
If you would convince a man that he does wrong,
do right. But do not care to convince him. Men
will believe what they see. Let them see.
Thank God men cannot as yet fly and lay waste the
sky as well as the earth!
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