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Ralph Waldo Emerson

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... Battle of Shiloh, loss of 3,000 men A month later in Concord, Henry David Thoreau died of tuberculosis Emerson, who considered Thoreau his best friend, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ralph Waldo Emerson


1
Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Born 25 May 1803 in Boston on Summer Street
  • Father and grandfather were ministers
  • From academic class Ancestors for five
    generations had been scholars

2
Early Life and Education
  • Father William died when RW Emerson was eight
  • Household in serious financial difficulty, with
    five boys to be clothed, fed and educated
  • Mrs. Emerson succeeded

3
Education
  • Attended Boston Latin School
  • Entered Harvard College at 14, where he was
    appointed Presidents messenger
  • Gentle, amiable, not noteworthy as a student, but
    seen early as a scholar
  • Harvard Divinity School

4
Education-ministry
  • 1823 began studying for the ministry
  • Deeply spiritual and philosophical in nature
  • Also followed in line with his family
  • Ordained as Unitarian minister
  • Became assistant pastor of Second Church in
    Boston
  • Shortly became its incumbent
  • Active interest in social policy member of
    school board
  • Chaplain of state senate
  • Married 1829 wife died in 1831

5
Concord
  • 1832 expressed disapproval of church practice
  • Quietly withdrew from church
  • 1834 moved to Concord lived with mother in
    parsonage earlier occupied by grandfather

6
Transcendentalism
  • From his home path led to Walden Pond
  • Married Lydia Jackson 1835 son Waldo born 1836
  • Published a small volume Nature in 1836
    (anonymously)
  • This was first enunciation of transcendentalist
    principles

7
Life in Concord
  • Nature text that so influenced young Thoreau
  • 1834 Started new career lecturing
  • 1835 moves to Concord
  • 1836 Son Waldo is born
  • 1839 daughter Ellen born
  • 1841 daughter Edith born
  • 1842 son Waldo dies
  • 1844 son Edward born
  • 1855 Meets Walt Whitman

8
Later Life
  • 1862 Civil War Battle of Shiloh, loss of 3,000
    men
  • A month later in Concord, Henry David Thoreau
    died of tuberculosis
  • Emerson, who considered Thoreau his best friend,
    wrote the eulogy
  • Eulogy was his last sustained piece of writing
  • Claimed Thoreau was the only really free man he
    knew

9
End of Life
  • In later years had increasing problems with
    memory
  • House burned in 1872 was rebuilt during trip to
    Europe (funded by spontaneous gifts)
  • Died April 27, 1882
  • Buried on Authors Ridge, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
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