...All writing is by the grace of God. People do not deserve to have good writing, they are so pleased with bad. In these sentences that you show me, I can find no beauty, for I see death in every clause and every word. There is a fossil or a mummy character which pervades this book. The best sepulchers, the vastest catacombs, Thebes and Cairo, Pyramids, are sepulchers to me. I like gardens and nurseries. Give me initiative, spermatic, prophesying, man- making words....
American poet, essayist, philosopher, and lecturer. Emerson was born in Boston, the son of a Unitarian minister. He entered Harvard University at fourteen; after graduating in 1821, he taught school for several years before beginning theological studies in 1825. In 1829 he was ordained a Unitarian minister. Although he enjoyed delivering sermons, his Christian faith began to waver under the influence of the Romantic philosophers. In 1832 he resigned his pastorate and retired to Concord, Massachusetts, to a life of study and reflection. With the publication of his first book, Nature (1836), Emerson's gradually evolving philosophy, which he called transcendentalism, began to attract adherents and became an important expression of American spirituality. Emerson's occasional lectures at Harvard and the publication of his Essays (1841), which includes the classic Self-Reliance, secured his reputation as a dominant force in American literature and one of the most influential American essayists. See also emerson.tamu.edu/index.html.