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Ralph Waldo Emerson (GAP)
Transcript of Ralph Waldo Emerson (GAP)
and many more. The Declaration of Intellectual Independence The American Scholar In this speech, Ralph Waldo Emerson declared literary independence in the United States of America and urged Americans to create a writing style all their own and free themselves from the influence of Europe. Emerson also toyed with the idea that an American must become a "Man Thinking," someone who would achieve a higher state of mind, reject the old ideas and, think for him or herself. In The American Scholar, Emerson also threw out the idea that his "Man Thinking" must be able to see the world clearly, avoiding all influence from historical or traditional views, allowing himself to see the world in a broader view, never "defer[ing] to the popular cry." If the young merchant fails, men say he is ruined. If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards […] it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened, and in complaining the rest of his life. A sturdy led […], who in turn tries all professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls. He […] fells no shame in not 'studying a profession,' for he does not postpone life, but lives already. He has not one chance, but a hundred chances. […] The moment he acts from himself, tossing the laws, the books, idolatries, and customs out of the window, we pity him no more, but thank and revere him, -- and that teacher shall restore life of man to splendor, and make his name dear to all history." Harvard University In doing so, Ralph Waldo Emerson influenced the idea of American culture, versus the idea of European influence. This helped to stir up the literary movements that are unique to America,
Modernism From this idea began the idea of individualism, which would again be touched upon by Emerson in his famous essay, "Self-Reliance." This also played towards Emerson's staunchly abolitionist background and philosophy, showing his rejection of stereotypes and the narrow, biased views of racism. Essays: First Series, 1841 Ralph Waldo Emerson, during his literary career, not only preached about the idea of American literary independance, but greatly supported and influenced members of this movement. During his lifetime, Emerson openly supported influenced... Walt Whitman Margaret Fuller William James Nietzsche Henry David Thoreau Even those who denied any influence from Emerson were affected by his movement.
Such as... Herman Melville Henry James Nathaniel Hawthorne This quote exemplifies the idea which Emerson had that person must choose their own path, instead of always following in the footsteps of others. As Emerson once said: Do not go where the path may lead, instead go where their is no path and leave a trail.