His audiences were captivated by his speaking style, even if they didn't always follow the subtleties of his arguments.
He influenced generations of Americans, from his friend Henry David Thoreau to John Dewey, and in Europe, Friedrich Nietzsche, who takes up such Emersonian themes as power, fate, the uses of poetry and history, and the critique of Christianity.
leading the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.
Emerson developed a metaphysics of process, an epistemology of moods, and an “existentialist” ethics of self-improvement.
He had become quite famous, a major figure in the American literary landscape, a celebrity which brought both adultation and satire.
Emerson's published works, derived from his lectures and journals, include Nature (1836), Essays, First Series (1841), Essays, Second Series (1844), Representative Men (1850), English Traits (1856), The Conduct of Life (1860), and Society and Solitude (1875).
He died quietly of pneumonia in 1882.
In 1851 he began a series of lecture which would become The Conduct of Life, published in 1860.
In 1847 Emerson travelled to England, noticing in particular the industrialization and the chasm between upper and lower classes. When he returned to Concord nine months later, he had a new approach to English culture, which he expressed in his lectures on the "Natural History of Intellect" and his 1856 book, English Traits.
In 1845 he began extensive lecturing on "the uses of great men," a series that culminated with the 1850 publication of Representative Men; by that year he was giving as many as 80 lectures a year
He began planning a series of lectures on great men and publication of his poems in 1846, while speaking out against the annexation of Texas and reading deeply in texts of Persian and Indic wisdom.
He, Bronson Alcott, and George Ripley decided to begin a magazine, The Dial, with Margaret Fuller editing, in 1840; Emerson would edited the final two years, ending in 1844. His Essays (first series) were published in 1841.
Following this ground-breaking work, he gave a speech entitled The American Scholar in 1837, which Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. considered to be America's "Intellectual Declaration of Independence".[
Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of Transcendentalism in his 1836 essay, Nature.
In 1835 he married Lydia Jackson; they lived in Concord and had four children while he settled into his life of conversations, reading and writing, and lecturing, which furnished a comfortable income.
Visited Europe where he met Coleridge, Carlyle, and Wordsworth
On Christmas Day, 1832, he set sail for Europe, where he toured Malta, Italy, France, Switzerland, England, and Scotland.
In 1829, Emerson was ordained pastor of the Second (Unitarian) Church of Boston and married Ellen Tucker. Ellen died of tuberculosis in 1831, and the following year Emerson resigned his position on the grounds that he could no longer administer the sacrament of the Last Supper, which he considered a "dead form."
After four undistinguished years at Harvard he became a schoolteacher and studied theology there, preparing for the ministry.
Educated at Harvard
Ralph Waldo (known to friends and family after his college years as 'Waldo') was the fourth of eight children born in Boston to the Reverend William Emerson and Ruth Haskins Emerson.