Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Emerson's father was a Unitarian minister who died leaving his son to be brought up by his mother and aunt. Educated at Harvard, Emerson began writing journals filled with observations and ideas which would form the basis of his later essays and poems.

After a period of teaching, Emerson returned to Harvard to join the Divinity School where he was less than a perfect student owing to his poor health and a lack of conviction in religious dogma. He was ordained and was both effective and popular as a preacher, but felt compelled to resign because he did not feel he could conscientiously serve communion. In 1832 Emerson visited Europe, where he met Wordsworth, Coleridge and Carlyle ... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''There is no one who does not exaggerate. In conversation, men are encumbered with personality, and talk too much.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. :"Nominalist and Realist," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''Those who have ruled human destinies, like planets, for thousands of years, were not handsome men.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Beauty," The Conduct of Life (1860).
  • ''The covetousness or the malignity, which saddens me, when I ascribe it to society, is my own. I am environed by my self.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Character," Essays, Second Series (1844).
  • ''Put God in your debt. Every stroke shall be repaid. The longer the payment is withholden, the better for you; for compound interest on compound interest is the rate and usage of this exchequer.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Compensation," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • ''No performance is worth loss of geniality. 'Tis a cruel price we pay for certain fancy goods called fine arts and philosophy.''
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Culture," The Conduct of Life (1860).
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Comments about Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  • Lee Schneider (11/24/2013 3:59:00 AM)

    If he would be alive I would tell him:
    a. If a worst is, that man knows, it is ridiculous to be scared of unknown.
    b. If a best is, that man knows, it is smart to be scared of unknown.
    The question is: ''Who is happier? ''
    Dear Ralph Waldo Emerson!
    In spite you were b. and I am a. I consider myself happier than you were. That is why I share and like much all your minor verse

  • Lee Caldwell (9/18/2005 8:14:00 AM)

    No finer Poet in the World. Emerson is one of a kind, a unique, eloquent Master of the Word and Phrase

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