Essays and Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson (with an Introduction by Stuart P. Sherman)

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During the 1800s in America, the rise of industrialization reduced the cost of goods allowing people to have more possessions than ever before. However, a group known as the Transcendentalists believed that possessions created vanity. Instead, they valued the individual's relationship with divinity. One of the movement's most famous members, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote prolifically about his beliefs and experiences. A representative selection of his writings is presented here in this volume of the "Essays and Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson." In the first essay, "Nature," Emerson publicly acknowledges the transcendental lifestyle. He describes how that which is man-made detracts from the beauty of the real world. Through nature, Emerson believed people could find spirituality and wholeness. Emerson also explored the American political spectrum in his essay "Politics." The author believed that, through individual growth and wisdom, it would be possible for Americans to abolish government and rule autonomously. Until that point, though, the State needed to protect the individuals' rights. Readers can explore Emerson's philosophy and poetry in this collection which includes twenty-four of his most important essays and fifteen of his poems. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper and includes an introduction by Stuart P. Sherman.

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Known primarily as the leader of the philosophical movement transcendentalism, which stresses the ties of humans to nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and essayist, was born in Boston in 1803. From a long line of religious leaders, Emerson became the minister of the Second Church (Unitarian) in 1829. He left the church in 1832 because of profound differences in interpretation and doubts about church doctrine. He visited England and met with British writers and philosophers. It was during this first excursion abroad that Emerson formulated his ideas for Self-Reliance. He returned to the United States in 1833 and settled in Concord, Massachusetts. He began lecturing in Boston. His first book, Nature (1836), published anonymously, detailed his belief and has come to be regarded as his most significant original work on the essence of his philosophy of transcendentalism. The first volume of Essays (1841) contained some of Emerson's most popular works, including the renowned Self-Reliance. Emerson befriended and influenced a number of American authors including Henry David Thoreau. It was Emerson's practice of keeping a journal that inspired Thoreau to do the same and set the stage for Thoreau's experiences at Walden Pond. Emerson married twice (his first wife Ellen died in 1831 of tuberculosis) and had four children (two boys and two girls) with his second wife, Lydia. His first born, Waldo, died at age six. Emerson died in Concord on April 27, 1882 at the age of 78 due to pneumonia and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.

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