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Ralph Waldo Emerson

Other Writers Influenced by Emerson
Who is Ralph Waldo Emerson?
Samples of "Waldo's" Works
Influence on World Literature
Other Writers Influenced by Emerson
Literary Devices
Theme Analysis
Imagery Analysis
Style Analysis
Multimedia Links
Waldo's Famous Quotes
Emerson's Photos
Helpful Resources for Student
Works Cited

Emily Dickinson
Though Emily Dickinson cannot be wholly deemed a transcendentalist, she can be said to have been influenced by Emerson. In 1850, her friend Benjamin Newton gave her a copy of Emerson's first collection of poems. The poems contained in this anthology all portray a style and subject resonant in Dickinson's poetry (Grocholski). Emerson's influence can be perceived in these poems, but a profound difference is that Dickinson does not attempt to be a beacon of change in the American world. She instead focuses on the eternal quest for truth, dismissing organized religion at times.

Louisa May Alcott

     Louisa May Alcott in her "Reminisces of Ralph Waldo Emerson," describes the great joy she has experienced merely in being this man's friend. She tells anecdotes of when Waldo was a child and they were playmates. The fact that Alcott and Emerson knew each other personally supports her statements of praise; not only did she know him in a literary sense, but also shared a personal friendship with him. Alcott notes Emerson's influence in her own craft, as he introduced her to the works of Shakespeare, Goethe, Carlye, and Dante. He led her around his own library, introducing her to new authors, and provided her with an incentive to read more books.
     Alcott states that many authors attribute their motivation for writing to Emerson. Some of his works and poems have come to be as popular as the Bible and other Christian hymns. She describes him as being a great mind as well as a great person. Alcott notes instances in which Emerson has turned away from distinguished guests in order to speak to the most humble of worshippers, wishing to catch a glimpse of the man in all his glory.  
"The marble walk that leads to his hospitable door has been trodden by the feet of many pilgrims from all parts of the world, drawn thither by their love and reverence for him. In that famous study his town's people have had the privelege of seeing many of file great and good men and women of our time and learning of their gracious host the finest lessons of true courtesy" (Alcott).
     In the face of adversity and controversy, Emerson has picked up his pen and wrote masterpieces. Alcott even describes his influence abroad; he is considered to be another Goethe. When she traveled to Germany, two Germans asked her to tell them about Emerson. He is adored by so many people, and his humble nature deserves the praise received.


Henry David Thoreau
In his journal, Thoreau noted Emerson's intense dedication to both his work and his ideologies. Drawing from his own religious background, Emerson offers accurate and insightful commentary to everyday life. Thoreau describes this poet and philosopher as being not only a critic of the divine, but a divine man himself. Emerson strives to describe life just as it is, and is able to do so with poise and intensity.
"Love and Friendship, Religion, Poetry, the Holy are familiar to him. The life of an Artist; more variegated, more observing, finer perception; not so robust, elastic; practical enough in his field; faithful, a judge of men" (Thoreau).


Walt Whitman
     Whitman entered the field of poetry at 37 years of age, after much influence from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Whitman, in fact, asserts that he was the poet described in Emerson's "The Poet." Whitman clarifies this argument in the Preface to his 1855 Leaves of Grass. A noted follower of the ideals of transcendentalism, Emerson's influence on this author is duly noted. 


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