Ralph Waldo Emerson was a highly influential figure in shaping of the voice of American literature and thought since his life in the 19th century. Essayist, poet, lecturer, and leader of the Transcendentalist movement, Emerson's words influenced many famous auhtors such as William James, Friedreich Nietzsche, Walt Witman, and Henry David Thoreau. Perhaps what made Emerson such a prominent figure was not only his unflinching questioning of everyday societal values and ways of life (which he did throughout his prolific career), but he also pointed people in the direction of different ways of thinking and looking at the world. His words still echo today, long after his death, with the same poignancy and relevance as the times they were written in.
Here are some of his words. Read. Question. Be inspired.