Nature is an essay written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, published anonymously in 1836.
It is in this essay that the foundation of transcendentalism is put forth, a belief system that espouses a non-traditional appreciation of nature.
A visit to the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris inspired a set of lectures delivered in Boston and subsequently the ideas leading to the publication of Nature.
Many scholars identify Emerson as one of the first writers (with others, notably Walt Whitman) to develop a literary style and vision that is uniquely American, rather than following in the footsteps of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and others who were strongly influenced by their British cultural heritage.
"Nature" is the first significant work to establish this new way of looking at The Americas and its raw, natural environment.
In England, all natural things are a reference to layers of historical events, a reflection of human beings. However, in America, all of nature was relatively new to Western Civilization with no man-made meaning.
With this clean slate, as it were, Emerson was enabled to see nature through new eyes, or as he phrased it, the "transparent eyeball" and rebuild nature's role in the world.
Henry David Thoreau had read "Nature" as a senior at Harvard College and took it to heart.
It eventually became an essential influence for Thoreau's later writings, including his seminal Walden.
Emerson followed the success of this essay with a famous speech entitled "The American Scholar".
These two works laid the foundation for both his new philosophy and his literary career.
About the Author
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.
"I expect to pass through life but once.
If therefore, there be any kindness I can show,
or any good thing I can do for any fellow being,
let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again"
~ Stephen Grellet
"Faith and Fear Share The Same Definition.
Believing that what you cannot see will surely come to pass.
Faith Attracts The Positive while fear attracts the negative."
~ Author Unknown