In “Self-Reliance”, Emerson calls for individuals to speak their minds and resist societal conformity, while in “Civil Disobedience” Thoreau urged Americans to publicly state their opinions in order to improve their own g...
Emerson contends that religion is a vital principle, as alive today as at any time in the past. It therefore follows that we can and should have our own prophets and our own gospels. This point is a religious one, of course, but it is also literary, since it is essentially a question of how to interpret a text, in this case the Bible. (It is also true for Emerson, as for , that the function of the prophet is very close to the function of the poet.) Emerson evolved a consistent position in clear contrast to such later theorists as and the New Critics. Emerson's argument is that we should trust the teller, not the tale. Emerson is an antiformalist in literary (as in religious) matters. In more modern terms, his argument is that we should not privilege the text, text, above either the author or the reader. Emerson's interest in the author is not so much a critical position as an interest in the process of creativity.
The Over Soul Ralph Waldo Emerson pdf Soul
The main purpose of is to recover for the present generation the direct and immediate relationship with the world that our ancestors had. "Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe?," Emerson asks, with emphasis on the word "also." He goes on to inquire, "Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?" He had already discussed the poetry of tradition in his English lecture series. is an inquiry into the conditions necessary for a modern literature of insight.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Biography - Brandeis University
Emerson is here talking about the concept of "organic form" as opposed to "mechanic form." The distinction was clearly made by . "The form is mechanic, when on any given material we impress a pre-determined form, not necessarily arising out of the proportions of the material--as when to a mass of wet clay we give whatever shape we wish it to retain when hardened." Thus, for most modern poets, to use a sonnet form is to use mechanic form. "The organic form, on the other hand, is innate; it shapes as it developes, itself from within, and the fullness of its development is one and the same with the perfection of its outward form." Emerson's own essays grew organically, and both 's and 's can be seen as examples of the organic form here described. In Emerson's doctrine of forms, the form should follow from the nature of the evolving material. In Emerson's terminology, form depends on soul.
Free Essays on Ralph Waldo Emerson - Transcendentalist
Emerson's poet is much more than a technician of meter, a person of "poetic talents." Emerson's poet "announces that which no man foretold. He is the true and only doctor; he knows and tells." Picking up the Miltonic definition of poetry he had endorsed earlier, Emerson says, in a famous phrase, "for it is not metres but a metre-making argument, that makes a poem." The essence of the poem lies not in the words but behind the words, in "a thought so passionate and alive, that, like the spirit of a plant or an animal, it has an architecture of its own, and adorns nature with a new thing."
Ralph Waldo Emerson - critical essays
Emerson's second main point is "the poet is the sayer, the namer." That is to say Emerson here rejects the idea that the poet is primarily a maker, a craftsman, or wordsmith. Formalist critics from Jonson to had emphasized the craft of writing, seeing the poet as a maker. For Emerson, the poet is a seer and a sayer, a person inspired, a transmitter of the poetry that inheres in nature and in us. He is not just a maker of verses. Emerson's poet is the inspired, divine, prophet-bard who has access to truth and whose function is to declare it, as Barbara Packer shows in (1982). From this notion it follows that poems are not "machines made out of words," or "verbal constructs." By contrast, for Emerson, "poetry was all written before time was." The poet's job is to establish contact with the primal, natural world, "where the air is music," and try to write down in words what has always existed in nature. When writes that "Nature's first green is gold," he is giving words to something that has been going on for eons, namely the first appearance of light greenish gold when the leaves first begin to break out of the bud in spring.