"Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1803–1882)." World Poets.
There is more in the essay on the origin of words. "The etymologist finds the deadest word to have been once a brilliant picture," Emerson says, in a passage that was noted by Richard Trench, the English author who first suggested the idea of the . "Language is fossil poetry," Emerson explains, saying that "Language is made up of images, or tropes, which now, in their secondary use, have long ceased to remind us of their poetic origin." Coleridge had linked genius to organic form, saying genius was the mind's "power of acting creatively under laws of its own origination." Emerson now links genius with the revival and renewal of language. "Genius is the activity which repairs the decays of things," he says, and the epigrammatic force of his own language pushes back against entropy itself.
Compensation by Ralph Waldo Emerson Reviews Discussion
In December 1839 Emerson gave two lectures on literature as part of a series called "The Present Age," much of the material of which went into a paper called "Thoughts on Modern Literature," published in the in October 1840 and reprinted in (1893). Here Emerson lists, in order of importance, three classes of literature. "The highest class of books are those which express the moral element; the next, works of imagination; and the next, works of science." Though he calls "the first literary genius of the world, the highest in whom the moral is not the predominating element," he insists that 's work "leans on the Bible: his poetry supposes it." By contrast, "the Prophets do not imply the existence of or ." is secondary, the prophets of the Bible are primary. These views compensate and balance those in the Divinity School address. Indeed seems to have been intended by Emerson as a sort of corrective of some of his early views and various misinterpretations of them. One of the best things in "Thoughts on Modern Literature" is a long and very specific treatment of the problem of subjectivity. Defending the subjectivism of the age, Emerson is at great pains to distinguish true subjectivism (the right of each single soul, each subject "I" to "sit in judgment on history and literature, and to summon all facts and parties before its tribunal") from narrow-minded insistence on one's own personality or mere "intellectual selfishness." "A man may say , and never refer to himself as an individual," says Emerson in a phrase that prefigures his concept of the representative poet.
Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century, centered around the premises of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
For women, the fallback position is self-reliance.
In one perspective, Emerson’s forthright championing of self-reliance might be considered in light of the influences that might have shaped his thinking. He was born and raised just after the end of the enlightenment period and at during the high moments of American Romanticism. It is possible that his ideas were partly shaped by the spirit of liberty and freedom that pervaded the hearts and minds of the scholars of his time. However, his thinking about self-reliance might be considered as somewhat exceptional in the sense that it did not incline completely to the bent of romanticism given the fact that he challenges the authority of the ancients and the presumed greatness of past thinkers. Notably, it was common practice among the romanticists to assign greater importance to medieval ideals instead of the classical. On these grounds, Emerson might be considered as an earnest apologist of the spirit of individualism, which seemed to govern the central ideas of his period.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in 1803 in Boston (Cayton).
One area that Emerson appears to direct his critical energies is the place of society in determining the condition of individuals. In general, society is usually considered as an enhancer of collective harmony. People are expected to moderate their personal ambitions in the pursuit of the collective will as determined by the demands of the society. In these scheme of things, it becomes necessary for individuals to abandon, or surrender certain aspects of individualism in order to serve the whims of the society and those at its helm. According to Emerson, such expectations are utterly frustrating to the in-built potential of individuals. He warns against the danger of individuals being jailed by consciousness to the extent that they cannot make important steps in life without compromising the deceptive order that binds them to their respective societies. His conclusion is that the relationship between humans and the society deprives the former of the opportunity to achieve the goal of self-reliance.
Self-Reliance - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson and the Virtue of Self-RelianceTwentieth-century Americans have frequently looked to Europe forcultural leadership, to learn what is "modern" and "progressive." In the 19th-century, however, Americans often saw as the vanguard of modernity and progress.