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Ralph Waldo Emerson Biography

Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the famous philosophers of America. Waldo Emerson is known by his middle name. Probably the whole name was too long to call. Ralph Waldo Emerson was also an essayist and a lecturer too. This great person was born in Boston, on 1804, 25 May. This great philosopher led the transcendentalist movement I’m the middle of the nineteenth century. Some of the critics use to say from that time he comes forth and started growing up.

If we talk about ‘Individualism’ then also this grand essayist did well for the society and thought of education of middle-class society. Not only in America, but he also had given a lecture on his thoughts in many European countries.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Childhood

In Boston, Massachusetts he brought up. He is the son of Ruth Haskins and Rev. Waldo’s name was being made by adding his ancestral’s names. Except for him, they had four children too but Waldo was the second of them. From his early ages, he was intellectual and intelligent. That helped him a lot to be an educated man. His childhood days were not full of fun as his brothers and sister Phebe, Mary, John Clarke had died at their early ages.

Thus, he grows up, and later in 1811 his father also died. Through these problems, he passed years and never broke up. In Boston Latin school he studied and after completing his school education he goes to Harvard college. In his college life, he created a journal with the books that he had written “Wide World”. Probably this was the very beginning from where he started writing essays.

At that time he took a job for getting college expenses. We, the readers can say that his struggles are vast and never-ending. He lost all things throughout the life.

In 1821 he completed his graduation and rose among the other fifty students. This path was never very easy for him. In 2i26 he faces a physical breakdown because of mal-nutrition but he survives from this stage and again keeps on walking to the ground of life. He went to South Caroline, later Florida, and starts writing poetry. Throughout his life, Ralph has written few poems and he published them later.

During this period, he met Napoleon Bonaparte. Murray becomes his good friend on that season. He spends time with him and uses to make discussion on society, religion, education, and all.

When he visited St. Augustine he took his first love on slavery and begun to encounter it. He wrote,
“One ear, therefore, heard the glad tidings of great joy, whilst the other was regaled with ‘Going, gentlemen, going!'”
He did not marry someone and that is why throughout the life he only focuses on works. Though some speak that he was alone in his personal life.

Literary Career

Emerson is a qualified person and his one of the major part is transcendentalism. He never had religious faith and social boundaries. Every time he spends his maximum time on writing and theories. In 1836 he has written an essay on the philosophy of transcendentalism. This becomes very popular at that time. Later he took inspiration from Samuel Tailor Coleridge. Even in some of his works this influence can be seen.

He was being called “The American Scholar” and in this name, there is a book by Ralph. The first collection of essays got published as “Essay: First Series” in 1841 and another bunch of essays “Essay: Second Series” in 1844. His famous essays are “Self-reliance”, “Circles”, “The Over-Soul”, and “The Poet”. These all are added to his series of essays. After publishing “Nature ” he met Fredrick Henry Hedge, George Putnam, and George Ripley.

With all of them, he used to speak on nature, transcendentalism, and probably on religion. He was truly detached from the religious aspects. And from his works, we can recognize the extinction of religion. He studied Asian Language and therefore learn many things from Asian studies. One of the famous quotes that he used for Asian studies is,

“The purpose of life was spiritual transformation and direct experience of divine power, here and now on earth.”
After that, he visited many places like the British Isles. In one of his essays, he had written that the European revolution was very ruffled stuff that significant apart from society and religion. In 1855 Walt Whitman published his collection of poetry named “Leaves of Grass”. Throughout his life, he had written essays but this collection of poems are interesting and fills with intense love. Philosophical introspection is the common part of waldo Emerson’s poetry.

Besides these things, Ralph also published journals and given a lecture to the country’s people. Philosopher’s camp at Follansbee pond Adirondacks was a great idea. Throughout life, this philosopher expressed his thoughts and tried to learn all the people about philosophy.

Complete list of works


  1. “Nature” (1836)
  2. “The American Scholar” (1837)
  3. “Self-Reliance” (1841)
  4. “Compensation” (1841)
  5. “The Over-Soul” (1841)
  6. “Circles” (1841)
  7. “The Poet” (1844)
  8. “Experience” (1844)
  9. “Politics” (1844)
  10. “New England Reformers” (1844)

Essay Collections

  1. “Essays: First Series” (1841)
  2. “Essays: Second Series” (1844)
  3. “Representative Men” (1850)
  4. “English Traits” (1856)
  5. “The Conduct of Life” (1860)
  6. “Society and Solitude” (1870)
  7. “Letters and Social Aims” (1876)


  1. “Concord Hymn” (1837)
  2. “The Rhodora” (1839)
  3. “Brahma” (1857)
  4. “Days” (1867)
  5. “Terminus” (1867)

Read more about Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Famous Poems


  1. “The Divinity School Address” (1838)
  2. “The Method of Nature” (1841)
  3. “Man the Reformer” (1841)


  1. “Nature, Addresses, and Lectures” (1849)
  2. “Poems” (1847)
  3. “May-Day and Other Pieces” (1867)

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it covers many of Emerson’s most influential and well-known works. I

Last Days of Life

In 1879 he appeared in front of his followers and delivered a speech. But later he did not come forth. Holmes writes in a letter,
“Emerson is afraid to trust himself in society much, on account of the failure of his memory and the great difficulty he finds in getting the words he wants. It is painful to witness his embarrassment at times”.
Therefore he died in 1882 as he was suffering from Pneumonia. After five-six days of struggle, he passed away.