Emerson The Poet Essay

Emerson The Poet Essay-48
To trust oneself and follow our inner promptings corresponds to the highest degree of consciousness.

To trust oneself and follow our inner promptings corresponds to the highest degree of consciousness.Emerson concurred with the German poet and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe that originality was essentially a matter of reassembling elements drawn from other sources.In 1837 Emerson delivered his famous "American Scholar" lecture as the Phi Beta Kappa address at Harvard, but his controversial Harvard Divinity School address, delivered in 1838, was the occasion of a twenty-nine year breach with the university and signaled his divergence from even the liberal theological currents of Cambridge.

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Graduating in the middle of his class, Emerson taught in his brother William's school until 1825 when he entered the Divinity School at Harvard.

The pattern of Emerson's intellectual life was shaped in these early years by the range and depth of his extracurricular reading in history, literature, philosophy, and religion, the extent of which took a severe toll on his eyesight and health.

In the individual can be discovered all truths, all experience.

For the individual, the religious experience must be direct and unmediated by texts, traditions, or personality.

Emerson’s enduring reputation, however, is as a philosopher, an aphoristic writer (like Friedrich Nietzsche) and a quintessentially American thinker whose championing of the American Transcendental movement and influence on Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, William James, and others would alone secure him a prominent place in American cultural history.

Transcendentalism in America, of which Emerson was the leading figure, resembled British Romanticism in its precept that a fundamental continuity exists between man, nature, and God, or the divine.Not surprisingly, some of Emerson’s key ideas are popularizations of both European as well as Eastern thought.From Goethe, Emerson also drew the notion of “bildung,” or development, calling it the central purpose of human existence.Later developments in his thinking shifted the emphasis from unity to the balance of opposites: power and form, identity and variety, intellect and fate.Emerson remained throughout his lifetime the champion of the individual and a believer in the primacy of the individual’s experience.Emerson is often characterized as an idealist philosopher and indeed used the term himself of his philosophy, explaining it simply as a recognition that plan always precedes action.For Emerson, all things exist in a ceaseless flow of change, and “being” is the subject of constant metamorphosis.In 1829, he accepted a call to serve as junior pastor at Boston's Second Church, serving only until 1832 when he resigned at least in part over his objections to the validity of the Lord's Supper.Emerson would in 1835 refuse a call as minister to East Lexington Church but did preach there regularly until 1839.Emerson was one of five surviving sons who formed a supportive brotherhood, the financial and emotional leadership of which he was increasingly forced to assume over the years."Waldo," as Emerson was called, entered Harvard at age fourteen, taught in the summer, waited tables, and with his brother Edward, wrote papers for other students to pay his expenses.

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