Ralph Waldo Emerson - Greatest American Author

Essay by giarcsolHigh School, 12th gradeA+, February 2006

download word file, 4 pages 3.7 1 reviews

Ralph Waldo Emerson is quite possibly the most influential poet ever, let alone of just his time. He has put forth many ideas on the self and promotes transcendentalism throughout all his works. He is fully due credit for shaping what is now a solid American literary style and idea. Without Emerson, people like Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, and Walt Whitman would never have been what they were. With his, "eclectic and unsystematic thinking," Emerson was often criticized as a, "superficial popularizer." (Myerson) Though this criticism came, many of those critics were impressed and had respect for such a deep thinker.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803 in a normal hospital in Boston. He was the 3rd son of William and Ruth Haskins Emerson. Emerson's childhood was pretty normal. Before he was 3 years old, he was in what was the equivalent of kindergarten; he set no high marks and was perceived rather dull.(August

3) William Emerson was a 6th generation Unitary Minister and died in 1811, leaving Ruth to take care of five sons. This was very hard on his family with also having one of Ralph's younger brothers spending most of his life in a mental institution. Another one of his brothers, also a victim of mental illness, died in 1834. A third brother died in 1836 of tuberculosis. Tuberculosis also ended up taking Emerson's first wife, Ellen, in 1831. Tragedy was a part of Emerson's life, with his first son, Waldo, dying in 1841.

He would later write one of his best poems "Threnody", in dedication to his son.

On top of being a great poet, Emerson is most known for his essays and lectures. He traveled the world giving speeches on his beliefs and philosophy...