Thinking about individuals as sovereign states, as that passage from Emersonpointed out, one might imagine that the only relations possible between themwould be by treaty, that is, by contract. And of course contract is an importantform of social relationship. But of late it becomes not simply something thatoccurs in the business world but begins to invade the private world. And some ofthe psychological advice sounds like it came out of a course in businessmanagement so that the concern is for making sure that you are going to get afair return on your investment-emotionally as well as in terms of money.
There is a problem with people who conceive of themselves as self-sufficientindividuals in figuring out how they can establish and sustain relationships toothers. Radical American individualism seems to contain two conceptions of humanrelatedness that, again, look perhaps at first incompatible but seem to be heldsimultaneously by many of the people to whom we talked. And here, again, is thecontinuity. We find both of these eloquently expressed in Emerson.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote several books of essays, commonly associated with transcendentalism and romanticism. "Essays" most commonly refers to his first
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However these volumes were themselves merely a corrected version of an earlier translation, made by "forty or fifty university men" in 1684-94 - a remarkable early exercise in collaborative translation, even if their efforts were "careless and vicious in parts", as Emerson says.
His (first series) were published in 1841. Meanwhile, tragedy struck with the sudden death of his five-year old son Waldo in 1842, soon after the death of John Thoreau from lockjaw, and a darker, tougher strain appears in Emerson's writing, beginning with his memorializing poem, But Emerson pulled himself together to give a series of lectures in New York and in 1844 he had a prepared.
In 1835 he married ; 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. The Emerson house was a busy one, with friends like Elizabeth Hoar, Margaret Fuller, and Henry Thoreau staying for months to help out and talk.
When he returned to Concord nine months later, he had a new approach to English culture, which he expressed in his lectures on the and his 1856 book, In 1851 he began a series of lecture which would become , published in 1860.
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Perhaps the most powerful personal influence on him for years was his intellectual, eccentric, and death-obsessed Puritanical aunt, Yet Emerson often confessed to an innate optimism, even occasional "silliness." His undergraduate career at Harvard was not illustrious, and his studies at the Harvard Divinity School were truncated by vision problems, but he was ordained a minister of the Second Church in Boston, shortly before marrying Ellen Tucker in 1829.
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