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Word Count: 1,154
Ralph W Emerson was a profound American Transcendentalist essayist and poet from the 19th century he was the father and founder of American Transcendentalism Furthermore he was the more remarkable philosopher of his century he was more a philosopher than a literary person Transcendentalism defined reason as the highest human faculty the individuals innate capacity to grasp beauty and truth by allowing full play to the intellect and emotions The movement emerged from a small group of intellectuals centered in Concord Massachusetts and Emerson proved not only its intellectual leader but its most eloquent voice as well Emerson posed an uncommon freedom of thought product of his childhood conditions adult experiences and powerful influences His family was not exceptionally wealthy but they remained respected in their community It was this environment of spirituality that formed his morals and fostered his ardent views on anti-slavery and the womens movement An experience that left him heartbroken was the death of his wife which inspired him to travel abroad It was during these travels that Emerson met Coleridge and Wordsworth and was first exposed to English Romanticism literary and intellectual influences During this time he also began formulating the ideas that would later be born into the essay Self-Reliance The combination of his wifes death and the exhilaration of travel to distant lands including Italy France England and Scotland provided the feelings of independence and strength that emerge in this piece He had other influences in his ideas the believe in intuition from the Neo-Platonism and the Yankee Pragmatism Emersons writing style can be labeled unconventional Indeed he comes across as a writer more familiar with the conventions of public speaking than the protocol of literary form In fact his writing fluctuates like a conversation often appearing to become tangential until upon concluding the piece the reader develops a sense of how perfectly each strand of information was woven into
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