Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons.

About Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), was born on May 25, 1803, in Boston, Massachusetts, and died April 27, 1882 in Concord, Massachusetts. Emerson was best known as an American Transcendentalist poet, philosopher, and essayist and lived during the 19th century in the United States. Emerson's original profession and calling was as a Unitarian minister, but he left the ministry to pursue a career in writing and public speaking. He was also a leading exponent of New England Transcendentalism.

Emerson is cited often by the Oxford University Press, New York Columbia University Press, and Harvard University, Cambridge University Press, University of California Press, and he became one of America's best-known and best-loved 19th-century figures.

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Text & Quotes of Emerson

Learn from one of the greatest writers and poets in American history. His most famous work, Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self-Reliance can truly change your life for the better.

Other famous works are The American Scholar summary, The Lord's Supper, Nature, St. Augustine Confessions, Harvard Divinity School Address, English Traits, Representative Men, and his collection of poems.

Essays First Series
Essays Second Series

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Discussion on Emerson

From these pages, open discussions on Emerson, his work, his life, and how you can improve yours from this beloved author and poet.

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Emerson's most famous work

Throughout his life, Ralph Waldo Emerson kept detailed journals of his thoughts and actions, and he returned to them as a source for many of his essays. Self-reliance is all that it sounds like plus considerably more. Learn from one of the greatest writers and poets in American history. His most famous work, Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self-Reliance can truly change your life for the better.

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This section includes the lectures given by Ralph Waldo Emerson and also includes various biographies on his life and those close to Emerson. The Sovereignty of Ethics and Mary Moody Emerson are included.

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This section covers poems written early in Emerson’s career which some are not widely known. Fifty poems are available, including The Rhodora.

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This is a collection of writings, addresses, essays, and reviews by Emerson. Included are his famous works, The Last Supper.

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The section does not cover the history and life of Emerson and his writings, but rather his work entitled “History.”

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"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." That quote has been inspirational to me and my business. I've taken risks and fallen, but I always get back up stronger than before.

Matt Gallant


The wisdom that is Emerson has been a strong impact on my career and in my roles as a father and husband. His advice is timeless. "Self Reliance" was the first work of Emerson's that I read and I still read it every year.

Ron Halversen

I read Emerson's Self Reliance as a teen for English class. It didn't click for me at the time, but as I got older I found myself remembering bits and pieces. It's been a sort of backbone to my adult life that I've returned to again and again when I needed (self) guidance.

Melissa Anderson

I recently attended an important dinner meeting with a potential new client. I reminded myself to be calm, watch my non-verbal cues and maintain eye contact. I learned these important items when reading Ralph Waldo Emerson's "The Conduct of Life". The essay emphasized the importance of "Behavior" and to celebrate "the wonderful expressiveness of the human body".

Heather Paige

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"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." To think Emerson uttered these words nearly two centuries ago and yet it is the perfect advice for today's youth."

Alyssa Gonzalez

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Emerson's advice, "Every man is a consumer, and ought to be a producer," is even more important in today's wealth-driven economy. Being a producer ensures your family's security and comfort even after you are gone."

Ashley Haigh

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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Every business owner would be wise to heed Emerson's words."

Caleb Hunter


There is no human alive could not appreciate the magnitude of living life free from all that we tightly wind ourselves. This freedom comes from the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Mark Mason

Mark Mason

What I remember most about Emerson is he said not to worry about what has happened in the past, or what may happen in the future, but focus on that which dwells deep within you.

Derek Mills


A year has not gone by since I left college that I have not read Emerson’s essay, Self Reliance. I have instilled Emerson’s wisdom on my daughter, family, and friends.

Jeff Greenfield

My grandfather told me when I was young that instead of following the path of others, I should go where my heart took me. For me to leave a trail for others to follow. I learned years later it was a quote from Emerson.

Todd Chism

People Influenced By Emerson

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was an American essayist, a poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian. His well-known essays were Civil Disobedience and Life Without Principle.

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Amos Bronson Alcott

Amos Bronson Alcott

Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888) was an American teacher, writer, philosopher, and reformer. As a key figure in the transcendentalist movement, his work and ideas were deeply interwoven with the broader currents of 19th-century American intellectual and social life. Born in Wolcott, Connecticut, Alcott pursued education and self-improvement with a passion that would define much of his life and career. Alcott’s educational philosophy was progressive and innovative. He advocated for a model of education that emphasized personal growth, moral development, and the cultivation of the imagination rather than rote memorization or strict discipline. This led him to found the Temple School in Boston, where he implemented his ideas. Although the school…

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Stanley Cavell

Stanley Cavell

Stanley Cavell (1926–2018) was an American philosopher renowned for his work in aesthetics, ethics, and the philosophy of language and for his contributions to the interpretation of Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Thoreau. Cavell’s academic career was primarily associated with Harvard University, where he taught for over three decades and impacted contemporary American philosophy. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Cavell was raised in Sacramento, California. He pursued an undergraduate degree in music at the University of California, Berkeley, before shifting his focus to philosophy, where he found his true calling. Cavell earned his Ph.D. from Harvard, later joining the faculty, influencing generations of students and scholars through his teaching and writing. Cavell’s philosophical…

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Ellen Louisa Tucker

Ellen Louisa Tucker

Ellen Louisa Tucker (1811–1831) was not a public figure or philosopher in her own right but is remembered primarily for her profound influence on Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American transcendentalist philosopher, essayist, and poet. Born in Concord, New Hampshire, Ellen was known for her beauty, vivacity, and profoundly religious nature. Her life was tragically short, but her impact, particularly on Emerson, was significant and enduring. Ellen and Emerson’s relationship began in 1827, culminating in their marriage in 1829 when Ellen was just 18 years old. Their time together was brief, as Ellen suffered from tuberculosis and died less than two years after their marriage, in February 1831, at the age…

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Margaret Fuller

Margaret Fuller

Margaret Fuller was a women’s rights advocate associated with the American transcendentalism movement. She was also an American journalist. Her given name was Sarah Margaret Fuller Ossoli.

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Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, poet, philologist, and a profound influencer of modern intellectual thought. His work is known for its radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth, its critique of religion and morality as understood in the traditional sense, and its exploration of the concept of the “will to power.” Nietzsche’s philosophy delves into the complexities of existence, the nature of power, and the potential for individual transcendence by creating one’s own values instead of relying on the values of others. Key works of Nietzsche include “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” (1883-1885), a philosophical novel that introduces the idea of the Übermensch, or “Overman,” as…

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Thomas Carlyle

Thomas Carlyle

Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) was a Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, historian, and teacher during the Victorian era. Known for his sharp critique of democracy, industrialization, and the spiritual malaise of his time, Carlyle became one of the most influential thinkers of the 19th century. His work is characterized by a profound, often pessimistic, reflection on society and a strong advocacy for heroic leadership and individual moral integrity. Carlyle’s significant contributions include his essay “Sartor Resartus” (1833-1834), a satirical work that presents a philosophy of clothes as a metaphor for the human condition and societal values. His magnum opus, “The French Revolution: A History” (1837), is a dramatic and detailed account…

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Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 25, 1803.

'The American Scholar' was a speech given by Ralph Waldo Emerson on August 31, 1837.

The Harvard Divinity School Address

Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered this speech before the Senior Class in Divinity College, Cambridge in July 15, 1838.

There is a difference between one and another hour of life, in their authority and subsequent effect.

The Poet

Those who are esteemed umpires of taste, are often persons knowledge of admired pictures or sculptures.

Nominalist and Realist

I cannot often enough say, that a man is only a relative and representative nature. Each is a hint of the truth.

Ruth Haskins Emerson

The mother of Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on 9 Nov 1768 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Lidian Jackson Emerson

She was the second wife of Ralph Waldo Emerson, America's best known and best-loved essayist, lecturer, poet in 19th-century.

The Harvard University Press

Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, History, Biography, Nature, Addresses, and Lectures

Princeton University Press

Princeton University Press published a book on Ralph Waldo Emerson named Emerson: The Roots of Prophecy.

University of Chicago Press

University of Chicago Press published a journal -Rethinking Self-Reliance: Emerson on Mobbing, War, and Abolition.

Boston Public Latin School

Ralph Waldo Emerson received his early education at home would serve him well in school.

Edward Waldo Emerson

(1844-1930) Was a physician, writer, and lecturer. Lived in Concord, Massachusetts most of his life. Was the youngest son of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Lydian Jackson Emerson (second wife). Educated at Harvard and graduated in 1866. He went to Harvard Medical School and graduated in 1874. His medical practice was in Concord until 1882 when his inheritance was delivered and decided to retire.

Ralph Waldo Emerson - American author, poet, philospher, and essayist,

This site is dedicated to the memory of my late father, Emerson West, who was named after Ralph Waldo Emerson. The man I am today reflects the influence of my father and the life teachings of Emerson.