Get Your Premium Membership

Ralph Waldo Emerson Biography | Poet

Photo of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts and he died from pneumonia on April 27, 1882 at the age of 78 in Concord, Massachusetts. Although he was in relatively poor health for a great deal of his adult life, he still managed to create some of the most important literary works of all time. In fact, he lived a very full life. He created a number of lectures which he later turned into essays. He also wrote some poetry. One of his greatest and most influential works was an essay called "Nature." In September 1836, Emerson and other like-minded intellectuals founded the Transcendental Club, which served as a center for the movement


Emerson attended Harvard College. He was a very well educated individual, but he had some ideas that were considered to be quite radical at the time. He considered himself something of a minister until the death of his wife, which forced him to reconsider his religious beliefs. He did not abandon his religious beliefs, but he did have some rather strange beliefs for those individuals who lived at the time. He was the leader of the transcendentalist movement and was well known as one of the foremost 19th century western philosophers. He believed in things like self-reliance, individualism and even mysticism. In short, he believed that God would reveal things the way he saw fit and that he would do so through nature. This was something that was very hard for many people to swallow at the time, but for Emerson, it was simply an extension of the bigger picture. He had always challenged standing beliefs on just about everything and he always had been a frontrunner when it came to change.

Important Literary Works

Ralph Waldo Emerson completed a number of important literary works in addition to “Nature.” He also wrote essays entitled “Self-Reliance” and “Circles.” He accomplished these feats by writing most of his essays as lectures. He was a skilled public speaker, so he would prepare these more like speeches and he would later edit them to make them read better for the general public. During the earlier part of his career, he spent most of his time writing essays, but as his health began to decline and he was forced to change his lifestyle, he began writing some poetry in addition to the essays themselves.


The overall significance of Emerson's works cannot be discounted. The fact that many of the essays and even much of the poetry that he wrote so long ago is still popular today stands as a testament to his success as a writer as well as a philosophical thinker. Even today, people have a tendency to want to know what he had to say when it came to talking about certain topics. As a result, his works have become something that almost everyone has to read. In reality, he was a progressive thinker that led a number of people into an entirely different way of thinking during the 19th century. He just happened to be a gifted writer and he put many of this thoughts down on paper so people can still read them today. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson: Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes