"Ralph Waldo Emerson"
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Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 25, 1803, son of Ruth Haskins and the Rev. Ralph Waldo was the second of five sons. The young father died from stomach cancer on May 12, 1811, less than two weeks before Emerson's eighth birthday.
Emerson's formal schooling began at the Boston Latin School in 1812 when he was nine. Emerson served as Class Poet; as was custom, he presented an original poem on Harvard's Class Day, a month before his official graduation on August 29, 1821, when he was 18.
Emerson met his first wife, Ellen Louisa Tucker, in Concord, New Hampshire on Christmas Day, 1827, and married her when she was 18.The couple moved to Boston, with Emerson's mother Ruth moving with them to help take care of Ellen, who was already sick with tuberculosis. Less than two years later, Ellen died at the age of 20 on February 8, 1831 .
In the 1830s Emerson gave lectures that he afterward published in essay form. These essays, particularly “Nature” (1836), embodied his newly developed philosophy. “The American Scholar,” based on a lecture that he gave in 1837, encouraged American authors to find their own style instead of imitating their foreign predecessors.
Emerson’s later work, such as The Conduct of Life (1860), favored a more moderate balance between individual nonconformity and broader societal concerns. Continued to lecture across the country throughout the 1860s. As a lecturer and orator, Emerson—nicknamed the Concord Sage—became the leading voice of intellectual culture in the United States.
Starting in 1867, Emerson's health began declining; he wrote much less in his journals. Emerson's Concord home caught fire on July 24, 1872; Emerson called for help from neighbors and, giving up on putting out the flames, all attempted to save as many objects as possible. In late 1874 Emerson published an anthology of poetry called Parnassus
Emerson died on April 27, 1882,in Concord. His beliefs and his idealism were strong influences on the work of his protégé Henry David Thoreau and his contemporary Walt Whitman, as well as numerous others. His writings are considered major documents of 19th-century American literature, religion and thought.
Works Nature; Addresses and Lectures (1849) Representative Men (1850) English Traits (1856) The Conduct of Life (1860) Society and Solitude (1870) Letters and Social Aims (1876) "Nature" (1836) "Self-Reliance" "Circles" "The Poet" "The American Scholar" "New England Reformers" Poems "Concord Hymn" "The Rhodora" "Brahma" "Uriel" "The Snow-Storm (poem)"