Some listed here may now be out of print or unavailable. (Sacks)
Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Self-Reliance" is often the first or only exposure students get to Emerson's thought. Here are some resources to help understand this essay:
An essay introducing the background and context of Transcendentalism, for help in understanding where Emerson's ideas came from.
From Emerson himself, with some dictionary and other simple definitions listed as well.
Basic information on Transcendentalism - links to the two items above plus more.
- HTML searchable copy of the text at
Ann Woodlief's excellent introduction to the Emerson essay, Self-Reliance.
An article by Alfred I.
In Ralph Waldo Emerson sets out an approach to History where the "innate Humanity"that is common to all of mankind is seen as operating throughoutthe ages in the shaping of events.
Maria Martinez – Emerson education essay quotes
The Harvard University administrators, and the then existing religious authorities in north America, tended to be more than a little disconcerted by the content of Emerson's Address.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes Success 27961 DFILES
Looks at the problem of selfhood in Emerson's essay and relates that to relevance today, especially in religious belief in our increasingly-secular age.
A short essay, some selections from the essay, and some excellent questions for thinking about Emerson's ideas.
A short introduction to American culture about 1841, looking at Emerson's essay and its relationship to ideas of democracy, culture and the masses.
A Unitarian Universalist minister muses about the position of Emerson in that faith today, where he's often considered a "prophet of religious liberalism." - about the book and its author
- by Bryan Caplan - Kristen Rosenfeld - Piper S.
Literary analysis of emerson and self reliance Free medical essay
Emerson's essay urges us to take our ideas seriously, not lightly. Does your idea resonate with your innermost voice of reason and conscience? It's worth thinking about these quotes.
Free Thinkers University Success by Ralph Waldo Emerson
However obscure their causes, history, which is concerned with narrating these appearances, permits us to hope that if we attend to the play of freedom of the human will in the large, we may be able to discern a regular movement in it, and that what seems complex and chaotic in the single individual may be seen from the standpoint of the human race as a whole to be a steady and progressive though slow evolution of its original endowment."
Or to quote Emerson, from more fully:-
My new mission: Killing the five-paragraph essay
Ralph Waldo Emerson is the father of the Transcendentalist movement that developed in the US in the 1820s and 1830s. It is founded on the belief that people are inherently good and are at their best when they are self-reliant and individualist, free from the corruption of society.