Essay on The Influence of Ralph Waldo Emerson

995 Words Nov 28th, 2010 4 Pages
Chris Schlegel
6/18/08
English 245 American Literature I
Dr. Calendar
Primary Source Paper

The Influence of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson is considered by many as one of the most respected and widely known authors in the history of American literature. From his famous book “Nature”, to his various essays, poems and lectures, Emerson’s collection of works maintain an authentic diverse style that separated him from other authors. The confidence and optimism he portrayed thru his work helped to spawn an assembly of followers from not only America, but Europe as well. Many historians believe that Emerson may be the most inspirational figure in American thought since the colonial period,
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One I enjoyed in particular was an article depicting various commemorative addresses’ entitled “ Emerson’s Many Friends.” In this piece Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes speaks vibrantly of Emerson in saying “ He enriched the treasure-house of literature, but, what was far more, he enlarged the boundaries of thought for the few that followed him and the many that never knew, and do not know today what hand it was that took down their prison wall.” Dr Holmes reference to his late friend shows not only his respect for Emerson, but also how significant a role he played in supplying his followers with optimism and confidence in being themselves. Two American authors whose literary careers were inspired significantly by Mr. Emerson were Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller. Both Thoreau and Fuller played an equally important role in the development of the transcendental movement, but their careers as writers may have taken a different path were it not for Emerson’s Influence on them. Emerson’s interaction with Fuller was well documented as the two were known to indulge in verbal intercourse regularly, eventually working together in creating “The Dial”, a publication dedicated to new ideas relating to the reformation of society. Thoreau on the other hand was a pupil of Emerson using many of his Philosophical beliefs in his literature and lifestyle. One of Thoreau’s greatest works was a book titled “Walden or

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