Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Self Reliance and Other Essays  

It contains the most solid statement of one of Emerson's repeating themes, the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow his or her own instincts and ideas.


25 May 1803 – 27 April 1882

Ralph was born in Boston, Massachusetts and he was the son of Reverend William Emerson a Unitarian minister. You might find this hard to believe but when Ralph was 14 years old he entered Harvard on a scholarship.

Emerson graduated from Harvard in 1821 at the age of 18. Emerson made his living as a schoolmaster and then a Unitarian minister. After a few problems with the Church officials about public prayer Ralph resigned from the church.

Emerson's first wife died from tuberculosis at the age of 20 and it affected him deeply. Often visiting her grave daily.

Some of the people Ralph associated with where, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, William James, Frederick Douglass and Bronson Alcott.

He also agreed to be William James Godfather when he was born.

Henry David Thoreau lived on Ralph's property while writing Walden Pond. He even built a cabin on the property to live while he was getting in touch with nature.

Ralph is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Concord, Massachusetts.



I have never read any of Ralph Waldo Emerson's books but I have had the opportunity of reading from his students. Ralph has affected so many of today's fiction and nonfiction writers.