Ralph Waldo Emerson(1803 -1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.
Emerson was viewed as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.
Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of transcendentalism in his 1836 essay “Nature”.
Following this work, Emerson gave a speech entitled “The American Scholar” in 1837, which Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. considered to be America’s “intellectual Declaration of Independence.”
Emerson wrote most of his important essays as lectures first and then revised them for print.
His first two collections of essays, Essays: First Series (1841) and Essays: Second Series (1844), represent the core of his thinking.
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