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
NOTE: A LINK TO ALCOTT'S REMINISCENCES OF RALPH WALDO EMERSON
CAN BE FOUND ON THE LINKS PAGE OF THIS WEBSITE!!
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).
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.