Ralph Waldo Emerson—a New England preacher, essayist, lecturer, poet, and philosopher—was one of the most influential writers and thinkers of the 19th century in the United States.
Ralph Waldo Emerson—a New England preacher, essayist, lecturer, poet, and philosopher—was one of the most influential writers and thinkers of the 19th century in the United States.Emerson was also the first major American literary and intellectual figure to widely explore, write seriously about, and seek to broaden the domestic audience for classical Asian and Middle Eastern works.When scholars discuss the limitations of Emerson’s writing about the East, they often refer to the essay “Plato; or the Philosopher,” published in in 1850.Tags: Human Resource Research PapersWrite Literary Analysis EssayEssay On Quaid E Azam ForCapital Punishment Student EssayProcess Of Writing An EssaySave Water For Future EssayMultiferroic ThesisFinancial Statement For Business PlanEssay BeginningsA Sample Of A Research Paper
As a boy, his first contact with the non-Western world came by way of the merchandise that bustled across the India Wharf in Boston harbor, a major nexus of the Indo-Chinese trade that flourished in New England after the Revolutionary War.
Emerson’s first contact with writings from and about the non-Western world came by way of his father, William Emerson, a Unitarian minister with a genteel interest in learning and letters.
The next year Emerson resigned his pulpit at the Second Church of Boston, publicly citing the fact that he did not believe in the special divinity of Jesus and thus could no longer administer the sacrament of communion.
After traveling through Europe, where he met literary luminaries such as William Wordsworth and Thomas Carlyle, Emerson returned to his ancestral home in Concord, Massachusetts.
Moreover, in his published writings during this period, Emerson cited maxims, referred to prominent figures, and otherwise incorporated allusions drawn from Asian and Middle Eastern literatures with surprising regularity.
He added these “lustres” to his nonfiction writing for at least two reasons.After he graduated from Harvard, Emerson’s enthusiasm for non-Western subjects waned, primarily because he devoted himself to becoming a Unitarian minister.In 1831 Emerson’s wife, Ellen Tucker Emerson, died of tuberculosis, an event that galvanized a series of personal and professional changes in his life.With the publication of his in 1844, Emerson emerged as a trans-Atlantic literary celebrity.In his essays from this period Emerson did not explicitly take up Eastern subjects or ideas; however, scholars agree that there are similarities between Emerson’s “Over-Soul” in his 1841 essay of that name and the Hindu conception of .He not only gave countless readers their first exposure to non-Western modes of thinking, metaphysical concepts, and sacred mythologies; he also shaped the way subsequent generations of American writers and thinkers approached the vast cultural resources of Asia and the Middle East.Emerson was born on May 25, 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts.First, by treating non-Western texts with the same respect afforded cultural authorities in the Western traditions, he could disrupt the parochial expectations of his American and European audiences.Second, by adducing evidence from traditions outside of America and Europe, he could assert the universality of his observations on society, fate, ethics, and philosophy.An aspiring poet, Emerson also gravitated to selections of poetry that took up Eastern themes and Eastern poetry, including the works of Saadi and Hafez, which he would embrace in adulthood.Like other Anglo-American readers of his period, Emerson relied heavily on British colonial agents for his knowledge of India, reading treatises, travelogues, and translations of legal, religious, and poetic texts produced in the wake of Britain’s imperial expansion into India.