Every so often throughout history, great doers and thinkers come along that break the mold and set new standards. People like Caesar, Shakespeare, Napoleon and Jesus have been studied and immortalized in volumes of texts. Then there are others who are not as well known. People like Ralph Waldo Emerson. From his life, writings, associates, beliefs and philosophy, this Concord, Massachusetts man has set his place as a hero in American literature and philosophy (Bloom 13).
The first, most important thing to mention about Ralph Waldo Emerson is that he was not a Transcendentalist philosopher (Bloom 1). Ralph Emerson was a poet, critic, essayist, and a believer of morals (Bloom 2). Many people look at what he…show more content…
His book, Nature, summarized his major ideas (Siepmann 300) and is the original and the best expression of transcendentalist philosophy (Spiller 346). Nature expresses his philosophy for the love of natural scenes where Emerson spent most of his time (Hart 256). The basic idea Emerson expressed in Nature is that nature is God’s ideal made clear to man. Emerson expressed that nature reveals truth, disciplines man, and rewards man when used properly and punishes man for abuse (Masterpieces 258).
Through his essays and addresses, Emerson accomplished becoming the leading transcendentalist in America. He also became one of the greatest American philosophers of all time (Masterpieces 258).
Emerson had many friends that helped him with his movement. Most of them were fellow writers, theologians, orators, and artists that were involved with the New England Transcendentalist movement. Emerson felt physically and intellectually closest to Amos Alcott, Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau (Wood 77). Some of Emerson’s other close friends were Ellery Channin and Nathaniel Hawthorne (Snodgrass 515).
Emerson and his friends formed a club called the Symposium. The Symposium later became known as the Transcendentalist Club. The club was made up