Ralph Waldo Emerson-wiki edit #8
Complicated guy. I recommend reading more than his brief wiki bio.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882): an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the mid-19th century transcendentalist movement. Emerson is considered to have been the champion for American individualism and a critic of American society.
Emerson graduated from Harvard College in 1821 at the age of 18. He later attended Harvard Divinity School and became a minister. Emerson left the ministry after his first wife died in 1831 and traveled abroad for the next two years.
In the United States, Emerson published his first essay, Nature in 1836, which challenged the currently held American religious and philosophical beliefs. He gave a speech in 1837 called The American Scholar. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. considered it America's "intellectual Declaration of Independence."
Emmerson authored dozens of published essays and gave more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States. He remains among the American romantic movement's linchpins, and his work has greatly influenced many thinkers, writers, and poets.
Emerson is also well known as a mentor and friend of Henry David Thoreau, a fellow transcendentalist.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882), who went by his middle name Waldo, was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of society's countervailing pressures, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.
Emerson gradually moved away from his contemporaries' religious and social beliefs, formulating and expressing the philosophy of transcendentalism in his 1836 essay "Nature." Following this work, he gave a speech entitled "The American Scholar" in 1837, which Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. considered to be America's "intellectual Declaration of Independence."
Emerson wrote most of his important essays as lectures first and then revised them for print. His first two collections of essays, Essays: First Series (1841) and Essays: Second Series (1844), represent the core of his thinking. They include the well-known essays "Self-Reliance,"  "The Over-Soul," "Circles," "The Poet," and "Experience." Together with "Nature,"  these essays made the decade from the mid-1830s to the mid-1840s Emerson's most fertile period. Emerson wrote on several subjects, never espousing fixed philosophical tenets, but developing certain ideas such as individuality, freedom, the ability for humanity to realize almost anything, and the relationship between the soul and the surrounding world. Emerson's "nature" was more philosophical than naturalistic: "Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul." Emerson is one of several figures who "took a more pantheist or pandeist approach by rejecting views of God as separate from the world."
He remains among the linchpins of the American romantic movement, and his work has greatly influenced the thinkers, writers, and poets that followed him. "In all my lectures," he wrote, "I have taught one doctrine, namely, the infinitude of the private man." Emerson is also well known as a mentor and friend of Henry David Thoreau, a fellow transcendentalist.