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will risk some confusion here and certainly we will have to neglect some biographical context as we "mix and match" writers. But we will be able to focus on those ideas which united (and even divided) them that makes us able to call them all "romantics." After we have read a work, we will "revive" it in discussions of later topics, taking the different perspective, for there must a certain arbitrariness in "assigning" a work to only one theme. Great and complex
works must not be limited like that! So rather than progressing through time and historical/biographical contexts, we will keep circling recursively (as Emerson says we must), seeing how the different works and writers explore the major aspects of romantic thought and art. Our base is necessarily Emerson, the literary giant of his time in America, for better or worse. Though his writing is often difficult to read, it was, in fact, the match that lit all of the creative fires of his time. He put his pen on all of the sensitive spots in the American creative psyche; Whitman was not the only one to "boil." RALPH WALDO EMERSON: celebrated the ability of human will to triumph over adversityEmerson and other like-minded intellectuals founded the Transcendental Club, which served as a center for the movement. Its first official meeting was held on September 19, 1836The Transcendental group began to publish its flagship journal, The Dial, in July 1840.They planned the journal as early as October 1839, but work did not begin until the first week of 1840It was in 1841 that Emerson published Essays, his second book, which included the famous essay, "Self-Reliance".This book, and its popular reception, more than any of Emerson's contributions to date laid the groundwork for his international fame.In January 1842 Emerson's first son Waldo died from scarlet fever.Emerson made a living as a popular lecturer in New Englandand much of the rest of the country. From 1847 to 1848, he toured England, Scotland, and Ireland. Self-Relianceis an essay written by American Transcendentalistphilosopher and essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. It contains the most thorough statement of one of Emerson's repeating themes, the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow his or her own instincts and ideas. It is the source of one of Emerson's most famous quotes, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." AnalysisEmerson presupposes that the mind is initially subject to an unhappy nonconformism.However, "Self-Reliance" is not anti-society or anti-community. Instead, Emerson advocates self-reliance as a starting point, not as a goal.Emerson urges his readers to retain the outspokenness of a small child who freely speaks his mind because he has not yet been corrupted by adults who tell him to do otherwise. He also urges readers to avoid envying or imitating others viewed as models of perfection; instead, he says, readers should take pride in their own individuality and never be afraid to express their own original ideas. In addition, he says, they should refuse to conform to the ways of the popular culture and its shallow ideals; rather they should live up to their own ideals, even if doing so reaps them criticism and denunciation.
Novelist and short story writer, a central figure in the American Renaissance.