Ralph Waldo Emerson

Karl Sadler

American Transcendentalist poet

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803, in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Wrote first book in 1836 called "Nature", this is considered his first account of Transcendentalism.
  • Emersons famous essay “Self-Reliance," the writer instructs his listener to examine his relationship with Nature and God, and to trust his own judgment above all others.

What is a Trancendentalist Poet?

These writers shared a key belief that each individual could transcend, or move beyond, the physical world of the senses into deeper spiritual experience through free will and intuition.


At the age of 14he attended Harvard college. He assisted his brother in running a school, then he he returned to Harvard divinity school. Emerson was a Unitarian minister for the early part of his life. Following the death of his wife he left the ministry to pursue a career in writing and public speaking. He continued writing and public speeches for the rest of his life.

Famous Pieces


The American Scholar (1837)

Self Reliance



Emerson gave about 1500 lectures throughout his career

Works Cited

"Ralph Waldo Emerson." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.