Emerson, Ralph Waldo (18031882)

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, an American philosophic thinker and poet, of English Puritan descent, born at Boston, where he started in life as a Unitarian preacher and pastor, an office he resigned in 1832 for literature, in which he found he would have freer and fuller scope to carry out his purpose as a spiritual teacher; in 1833 he paid a visit to England, and in particular a notable one to Craigenputtock (q.v.), with the inmates of which he formed a lifelong friendship; on his return the year after, he married, a second time as it happened, and, settling down in Concord, began his career as a lecturer and man of letters; by his “Essays,” of which he published two series, one in 1841 and a second in 1844, he commended himself to the regard of all thinking men in both hemispheres, and began to exercise an influence for good on all the ingenuous youth of the generation; they were recognised by Carlyle, and commended as “the voice of a man”; these embraced subjects one and all of spiritual interest, and revealed transcendent intellectual power; they were followed by “Representative Men,” lectures delivered in Manchester on a second visit to England in 1847, and thereafter, at successive periods, by “Society and Solitude,” “English Traits,” “The Conduct of Life,” “Letters and Social Aims,” besides a long array of poems, as well as sundry remarkable Addresses and Lectures, which he published; he was a man of exceptional endowment and great speculative power, and is to this day the acknowledged head of the literary men of America; speculatively, Carlyle and he were of the same school, but while Carlyle had “descended” from the first “into the angry, noisy Forum with an argument that could not but exasperate and divide,” he continued pretty much all his days engaged in little more than in a quiet survey and criticism of the strife; Carlyle tried hard to persuade him to “descend,” but it would appear Emerson never to his dying day understood what Carlyle meant by the appeal, an appeal to take the devil by the throat and cease to merely speculate and dream (18031882).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

Emerald Isle * Emerson Tennent, Sir James
Emanation, the Doctrine of
Emancipation
Emanuel I.
Embalming
Ember Days
Embryo
Embryology
Emden
Emerald
Emerald Isle
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Emerson Tennent, Sir James
Emery
Emigrants, The
Émile
Emir
Emmet, Robert
Empe`docles
Empires
Empiric
Empiricism