Talk:Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Trying hard to hide his main focus on Indian/Hindu Philosophy[edit]

Using word like Mysticism, western philosophy (this word itself is fake/concocted and used mainly to keep Indian Philosophy away from main-stream), Emmerson was mainly interested in Hindu/Vedantic philosophy but his region (what is it) is mentioned as western philosophy. But how long you can keep doing it? You need to destroy everything that Emmerson ever said to hide this forever, otherwise things will settle themselves in right perspective sooner or later. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.193.4.107 (talk) 14:39, 27 February 2015 (UTC)


Paragraph removed from Unitarian article[edit]

As follows:

Ralph Waldo Emerson graduated in the middle of his class.h he was 159 of 308. In speaking with his educators nothing would have ever indicated he was a great thinker, he was an absolutely average student.[citation needed] He taught school for a while then attended Harvard Divinity School. In 1829 he was a Unitarian preacher then resigned in 1832. In 1836 he published his first Transcendentalist treaty and began a Transcendentalist luminary club with Henry Oliver Wood and others. Unitarianism found a strong footing in America after Unitarianism was elected as the educational focus and aim of Harvard Divinity School.

Ref given is Tarango, Angela PhD. "Unitarians." Trinity University. San Antonio. 16 Feb. 2011. But... doesn't seem to be supported by other sources. Someone please check. In ictu oculi (talk) 03:15, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

That citation is the articles about Harvard Divinity School too. Cannot find it in any index. Seems bogus. Jytdog (talk) 22:08, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

"nearly every generation"[edit]

the article says "Emerson's work has influenced nearly every generation of thinker, writer and poet since his time."

why "nearly"? do we know of one which hasn't been influenced? ;P beej (talk) 19:00, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

So much praise, but reading just a few paragraphs actually written by the man should be enough to plant the doubt in anyones head whether this Emerson was an idiot. Kotika98 (talk) 13:07, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

Philosopher vs. Sage[edit]

I think it's worth discussing here. I think we can all agree that Emerson is referred to as both sage and philosopher in many sources. A recent edit summary that turned "philosopher" into "sage" explained, "not often described as a 'philosopher' by reliable sources and this is even explicitly negated by some such as Bloom. 'Sage' is not disputed anywhere to my knowledge but it's sage or nothing". This is an unfair ultimatum ("sage or nothing") that seems to attempt a circumvent of the consensus process. A quick Google search for "Emerson philosopher" will draw several results. Google books produced at least three books with titles along the lines of "Emerson as Philosopher", etc. (including one by Bronson Alcott) on the first page alone. Whether he considered it (or we consider it) an occupation or not, it seems that he created philosophy, so the moniker fits. "Sage", on the other hand, is defined as "a wise man" - if we draw that conclusion, we are not following the policy on neutral point of view by making a final judgment on his level of wisdom. If "sage" is how people often refer to him, that is an opinion, not a definition. With that said, if the terms are so difficult, I propose keeping "philosopher" in the lede, and allowing for some discussion in the "beliefs" or perhaps "legacy" section describing modern scholars (Buell, Bloom, et al) who have attempted to revive the "sage" nickname as a definition of the man. --Midnightdreary (talk) 14:15, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

I strongly agree that "sage" is an appreciation, not a definitive descriptive title. But regarding "philosopher," Emerson never considered himself to be one. While one may, in retrospect, say that he was, this is not borne out by reading his work. There is no overarching plan, and he wrote no long treatises about any subject that could be thought to be philosophical. Emerson considered himself a "poet," and a lecturer, but certainly not a philosopher. (Though he considered himself to be a preacher in his early career.) Nevertheless, I would say that "philosopher" is a much better word than "sage," though I tend to prefer simply calling him a "thinker" and "lecturer." Kirkmc (talk) 14:32, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

I agree. "Sage" is inappropriate here. As a descriptive word, it has a strong POV tone. The aforementioned editor also imagined Emerson might find the word "philosopher" insulting. I wonder what Aristotle thought of that. - Artoasis (talk) 14:45, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
For the record, I agree that "public speaker" is a bad word choice; lecturer or, really, "public lecturer" is my recommendation. --Midnightdreary (talk) 19:05, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
"Philosopher" is not used by many and disputed by others, so it is an opinion. Harold Bloom considers "sage" to be an accurate descriptive title, but if we others would dispute it making it too an opinion, then the fair compromise is to use neither. I agree that "sage or nothing" was a poor choice of words on my point; it sounds WP:UNCIVIL. What I mean was that if we think both "philosopher" and "sage" are opinions then we should just leave both out because "Public speaker, essayist and poet" or "Public speaker, essayist and poet" are fine on their own. I prefer "public speaker" because it is more broad and more accurate based on modern day equivalents; "lecturer" implies a very specific subject and only at universities, often at only one university. But that's no big deal. I think "thinker", "philosopher" and "sage" should all be left out if we think "sage" is too complimentary. "Thinker" is fairly facile and redundant. Gregcaletta (talk) 22:36, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree that "thinker" is fairly meaningless. But I still question the assertion that "philosopher" is not used by many in reference to Emerson. The WP:GOOGLETEST alone seems to disprove that. Bloom is not a final authority on this; if there is an attempt to remove "philosopher" as a descriptor of Emerson (which seems to have been used well before Wikipedia), many people have to support it to avoid WP:FRINGE or WP:UNDUE. Could anyone provide a quote with ref that Emerson did not consider himself a philosopher? For now, could we also find a quote from Bloom that says the "philosopher" title is inappropriate? --Midnightdreary (talk) 22:53, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
The point is there is enough doubt about whether the term "philosopher" is accurate that it is an opinion, in the same way that some believe "sage" is an opinion, so we don't state it as fact. Does anyone have any serious objection to just saying "lecturer, essayist and poet"? and leaving out "philosopher", "sage" and "thinker" altogether? I think that is the best compromise and the best way to achieve consensus on this. Gregcaletta (talk) 06:47, 2 May 2011 (UTC)
No, I do not agree. As I said before, I do not see enough evidence that the term "philosopher" is controversial. So far, only one source has been alluded to and, as I noted, relying on one source which disagrees with scores of others is WP:FRINGE or, perhaps, WP:UNDUE. For now, I support the addition of prose to either the section on legacy or beliefs. For the lede, I'm happy with the use of "philosopher". --Midnightdreary (talk) 13:03, 2 May 2011 (UTC)
Well if there is no academic consensus on whether he is a philosopher, it is WP:UNDUE to state is as fact. What problem do you have with just saying "lecturer, essayist and poet"? Gregcaletta (talk) 14:17, 2 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't see a lack of academic consensus; I see one person splitting hairs about semantics. I hate asking you to prove a negative, but I've already noted that "Emerson as philosopher" passes the Google test, with references as far back as Bronson Alcott's book shortly after Emerson's death. In other words, I see "philosopher" as more than commonly used. Emerson has a big listing in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, etc. I spent some time doing some Google book searches and found "Emerson was not a philosopher" only in reference to Bloom. --Midnightdreary (talk) 15:30, 2 May 2011 (UTC)
Proving a negative is the problem here, but it should be enough that the number of significant descriptions where the word "philosopher" is absent is higher still than the number where it is present. Simply leaving the word "philosopher" out is not the same as claiming in the article that he is not a philosopher; even if we did mention the claim, it would not be a violation of WP:UNDUE because the dispute is clearly not a "fringe theory". Lewis Leary disputed it directly: "Revelation rather than logic was the instrument used by Emerson to delve toward truth. It was not his intention to create a philosophy or to codify thought. He distrusted logical arguments as man-made, and therefore inadequate because they are imperfect as man is imperfect. Neither philosopher nor conventional moralist, Emerson, it cannot be said too often, was first and last an artist who attempted to create a vision of the world and man's place in it." John Dewey acknowledged that he is not consistently believed a philosopher without taking sides: "It is said that Emerson is not a philosopher. I find this denotation false or true according as it is said in blame or praise". And at least two editors here have said they find the term "philosopher" inaccurate, so I will appreciate it if you make an effort to achieve consensus. What problem do you have with just saying "lecturer, essayist and poet"? Gregcaletta (talk) 00:20, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
Wow, 'without taking sides'?! So you have no idea what Dewey is saying here, it seems. (although I find your sentence ambiguous.) Dewey meant that those who say he's not a philosopher in the negative, critical sense "less than a philosopher" are wrong. And those who say he is not a philosopher, as in greater than a mere 'philosopher' (i.e. philosophy professor), that he is so much more, and rises above that field of pedantry and party squabbles, are right. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Yesenadam (talkcontribs) 00:23, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I have put a request on the talk page of WikiProject Philosophy. Hopefully more editors will participate in this discussion and eventually reach a consensus. Cheers. - Artoasis (talk) 04:01, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Just came here from WT:PHIL. I agree with the consensus about the bias of "sage" and the vacuousness of "thinker". As far as "philosopher", I have no strong objection to its exclusion (remaining silent on an issue is always neutral), but I don't know for certain that it needs to be excluded (i.e. its inclusion may be acceptable). I would not immediately think of him as a "philosopher" in the sense of the kind of people discussed in contemporary philosophy classes. However, the existence of an article on him at SEP might seem to suggest otherwise. (On the other hand, SEP also has an article on Ayn Rand, who is of dubious qualification as a philosopher; though apparently wikipedia currently describes her as such).
I notice the SEP article refers to him as a "popular philosopher"; while that may simply mean that he is a philosopher who is well-known and well-liked, I get the feeling that they mean that more along the lines of "pop music", or "folk etymology": He is a "philosopher" in the sense that he did something laypeople would call philosophical, but without being a part of the greater (though perhaps narrower?) academic endeavor now named by the word "philosophy". Consider if I today published a book on philosophy in a private press but not in any academic journals (like Ayn Rand again), and that book became a best-seller; would that qualify me uncontroversially as a "philosopher"? Anyway, my point here is: maybe calling him a "popular philosopher" or the like might be a good compromise on this issue? --Pfhorrest (talk) 16:44, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
The second sentence of the intro reads:
Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of Transcendentalism in his 1836 essay, Nature.
The article is listed under the catrgories 19th century philosophers and American philosophers. The (philosopher) infobox reads:
Era: 19th century philosophy
Region: Western Philosophy
School: Transcendentalism
It appears that those who want to exclude Emerson from philosophy have some work to do. — goethean 21:32, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the fact that the word "philosophy" is used elsewhere in the article already is another good reason to remove the assertion that he is a philosopher. To simply describe him as a "lecturer, essayist and poet" is to not deny that he is a philosopher and it certainly is not to remove him from philosophy; it is simply to avoid unnecessary controversy or wordiness. Gregcaletta (talk) 08:28, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

I agree with the above. Emerson never considered himself a philosopher, but a poet and lecturer. Better to under-describe than over-describe. (And while I agree with Bloom that he was a "sage," I also feel that a neutral article should not say that. Kirkmc (talk) 16:49, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

Visit to Salt Lake City[edit]

I may add this info pending further discussion and research:

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Good out of evil. One must thank the genius of Brigham Young for the creation of Salt Lake City — an inestimable hospitality to the Overland Emigrants, and an efficient example to all men in the vast desert, teaching how to subdue and turn it to a habitable garden.”


On 18 April 1871 Emerson , in his sixty-eighth year, arrived in Salt. Lake City via the railroad

DAB (talk) 19:12, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Just make sure you cite properly using reliable sources. And use the correct date format too. I think the biographical note that he went to Salt Lake City is more important than the quote, unless some of your sources go into further detail about it as something of relevance. --Midnightdreary (talk) 02:34, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Salt Lake City is confirmed in von Frank's Chronology of Ralph Waldo Emerson, which refers to JMN 16:408. He met with Brigham Young on the 19th. And on the 17th, he noted in his journal that he weighed 140.5 lbs. Kirkmc (talk) 12:20, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Death[edit]

Emerson did not die from walking in the rain. Pneumonia is not caused by walking in the rain. (See http://www.webmd.com/lung/bacterial-pneumonia.) While contemporary accounts may have attributed his death to walking in the rain, it should not be cited as fact on Wikipedia considering current understandings of medicine (which can be researched on Wikipedia). For examples of how to explain contemporary lore while also remaining true to medical fact see the Wikipedia pages of William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Levingesundheit (talkcontribs) 20:11, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

influences[edit]

emerson considered himself as the resurrection of the persian poet sa'di he was heavily influenced by persian poetry — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.81.5.140 (talk) 08:46, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

American Philosophy perspective[edit]

So I added this reference, that American Philosophy: An Encyclopedia classes him as one of several figures who "took a more pantheist or pandeist approach by rejecting views of God as separate from the world."<ref>{{Cite book |title = American Philosophy: An Encyclopedia |author = [[John Lachs]] and [[Robert Talisse]] |year = 2007 |ISBN = 0415939267 |page = 310}}</ref> and see it was taken out. I think recognized sources give various interpretations of Emerson's philosophical bent, so describe them generally and leave it up to the reader to sort from the views.

Previously someone else had added a reference: Swami Vivekananda states that, “If you want to know the source of Emerson's inspiration, it is this book, the Gita. He went to see Carlyle, and Carlyle made him a present of the Gita; and that little book is responsible for the Concord Movement. All the broad movements in America, in one way or other, are indebted to the Concord party”<ref>[http://www.advaitaashrama.org/cw/volume_4/lectures_and_discourses/the_mahabharata.htm Swami Vivekananda about Concord party]</ref> - and I don't know whether this is the truth but explore it, and if it is so, include it too. Torquemama007 (talk) 19:47, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

It is unfortunate that the editor who removed the American Philosophy: An Encyclopedia material you added did not leave an edit summary. Such a summary really is a requirement; it beats guessing by quite a bit. I have three suggestions:
1. a Wikipedia article is not the place to explore material; content should be discussed in the article talk page
2. in general, when an edit is reverted, the content of the reverted edit should be discussed in the article talk page, not immediately restored (even if to a different location in the article). The Wikipedia:Bold, revert, discuss cycle is a useful essay
3. in some cases, inserting new material requires additional editing for fit and flow. - Neonorange (talk) 02:00, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
So I dig that, but since it was removed anonymously sans explanation, it seemed like that could just be vandalism. Still, I do realize the line didn't fit as well with the flow where I first put it, which is why I put is somewhere where it fits better the second time. I'm not looking to explore material, just to add info from a good source. It should be mentioned, also, if a good source says Emerson was influenced by the Bhagavad Gita. The source that was there before doesn't look too good, but I googled a bit and it looks like he (Emerson) definitely described himself as being influenced by that philosophy, so it's worth looking in to. Torquemama007 (talk) 16:37, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Swami Vivekananda about Emerson's inspiration[edit]

We mention that, Emerson was strongly influenced by the Vedas.

But Swami Vivekananda states that, “If you want to know the source of Emerson's inspiration, it is this book, the Gita. He went to see Carlyle, and Carlyle made him a present of the Gita; and that little book is responsible for the Concord Movement. All the broad movements in America, in one way or other, are indebted to the Concord party”

Reference: http://www.advaitaashrama.org/cw/volume_4/lectures_and_discourses/the_mahabharata.htm

& Vedas are different from Gita. we need to add more points about his inspiration. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kuzhali.india (talkcontribs) 10:51, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

It's a terminological point. "Vedas" properly includes Vedantic texts, and in a sense, the BG. But often "Vedas" is used in the much more restricted sense of "the Samhitas". This is clearly not what is intended here, and I propose changing "Vedas" to "Vedanta" to make clear what part of "the Vedas" he was influenced by. --dab (𒁳) 10:55, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

WeRelate[edit]

A record for this person has been created in the WeRelate genealogical website. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 01:07, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

Photo is inverted[edit]

The lead image of Emerson in the article is a mirror image of the source photograph. I can verify.Cdg1072 (talk) 01:35, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Proposed merge with The Rhodora[edit]

This article is very small and would be better off being a section within the Ralph Waldo Emerson article Ntb613 (talk) 05:02, 1 November 2015 (UTC)

It doesn't make sense to me to throw this into the Emerson article. Where would it go? Either keep it separate, kill it entirely, or fit it into some other article, say one about Emerson's poetry generically (though I'm not a big fan of that solution). Thmazing (talk) 06:48, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
I concur, it should not be merged here. However mainly it needs expanding, I think it belongs as an article in its own right. LaurentianShield (talk) 15:40, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

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Ralph Waldo Emerson is LGBT[edit]

He openly expressed his attraction to Martin Gay, that's enough to tag him as such. He's likely bisexual, but it's irrelevant to need to know the specifics as long as he's attracted to men, he qualifies. The sources support this. Mrmoustache14 (talk) 21:54, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Regarding my subsequent edit diffusing him from Category:LGBT writers into Category:LGBT writers from the United States, and then your revert of him back into Category:LGBT writers: that is not how the tree works. An LGBT writer goes into "LGBT writers from Specific Country", and "LGBT writers of specific type of literature" (e.g. "LGBT poets", "LGBT novelists", etc.) if an appropriate category for that exists — but a person does not go directly into the plain, undiffused "LGBT writers". That category is meant to contain only subcategories, not individual articles — and especially not individual articles which are already in one or more of the subcategories anyway. The only legitimate grounds for reverting my edit would have been if you were disputing that he was from the United States, which you're clearly not — apart from the subcategories for specific countries and specific types of literature, the only page that should ever be sitting directly in Category:LGBT writers itself, rather than the appropriate subcategories of it, is List of LGBT writers. Bearcat (talk) 22:09, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, must have made a mistake. Thanks. Mrmoustache14 (talk) 09:04, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
Mrmoustache14—since you added the LGBT categories to this article, and are familiar with the sources, I thought you might like to look into the multiple deletions and restorations of the two categories over the past weeks by 2.26.236.213. — Neonorange (talk) 12:07, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

Just because he had a crush on a guy when he was in school, that doesn't make him gay. There is nothing else in Emerson's life that suggests he wasn't heterosexual.

The category is defined as follows:

This category groups articles on people, who have come out to the general public as homosexual, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, Queer, pansexual or Radical Faerie, or, for historical figures, who are recognised thus by consensus of scholars in reliable sources, and for whom, apart from the previous, LGBT is or was a significant part of their public life or notability.

Emerson did not "come out" as homosexual, and there's nothing to suggest that his sexuality - of any type - was a significant part of his public life. And there's nothing to suggest that he acted on these feelings in any way, other than by writing some poems. In the same way, you can't paint someone as an adulterer if they merely had thoughts about someone else's wife.

Kirkmc (talk) 10:09, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

Yes I agree with Kirkmc. I can't find the policy he is quoting , but I did find something fairly unequivoval: in this article:

For a dead person, there must be a verified consensus of reliable published sources that the description is appropriate.... For a dead person, a broad consensus of academic and/or biographical scholarship about the topic is sufficient to describe a person as LGBT. For example, while some sources have claimed that William Shakespeare was gay or bisexual, there is not a sufficient consensus among scholars to support categorizing him as such — but no such doubt exists about the sexuality of Oscar Wilde or Radclyffe Hall. (emphasis added)

LaurentianShield (talk) 19:15, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
I also agree he does not fit our LGBT categories, if the most we can say about the matter is "Emerson may have had erotic thoughts about at least one man. During his early years at Harvard, he found himself attracted to a young freshman named Martin Gay about whom he wrote sexually charged poetry." -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 19:42, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

Plagiarism?[edit]

I'm not sure what the rules are, but this text:

Emerson had erotic thoughts about another man, Martin Gay. During his early years at Harvard, Emerson found himself attracted to the young freshman, about whom he wrote sexually charged poetry.

is copied verbatim from this blog post:

http://gayinfluence.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/ralph-waldo-emersons-man-crush.html

Kirkmc (talk) 10:09, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

That turns out not to be the case. The blog sentence you quote is not identical to the Wikipedia passage, but is an unattributed close paraphrase of this article, which has contained the passage in similar form, and in the same section, since September 22, 2008. Notice also that the Wikipedia passage is footnoted and the blog passage is not. Wikipedia articles are often quoted or closely paraphrased without attribution, so it is always necessary to check priority before jumping to conclusions. So, yes, there are rules—verify. — Neonorange (talk) 14:48, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

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Emerson in the Adirondacks[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

This is my first time contributing to Wikipedia and any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Emerson was a member of the Saturday Club at the Boston Parker House Hotel and in the summer of 1858 10 of them, including Emerson, journeyed into the Adirondacks at Follensebee Pond. Emerson's poem "Adriondac" resulted from this trip. These were 10 of the most influential intellectuals of their time. This event was a landmark in the 19th century intellectual movement, linking nature with art and literature.

I feel that a short history of this event would be a valuable addition to this page.

I am going to proceed to add this material to the page following the guidelines from Wikipedia and would like any feedback or help in improving it. RonaldMPrior (talk) 19:37, 13 July 2018 (UTC)