Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The American Scholar”

This reading is extremely difficult for me to process. When I first read it, it went in one ear and out the other. There are quite a few words I don’t understand and phrases I did not pick up on. In order for me to really understand it I had to reread sentences over and over. Honestly the reading bored me and was painful to get through. Basically the entire reading is about being a scholar.

As I did some research I found that it was delivered as a speech to the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Harvard University on August 31, 1873. No wonder I couldn’t understand it, it’s from 1873 and directed towards Harvard students. Anyways, I also did a bit of research on Emerson. He was born May 25, 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. This guy was brilliant. He was seen as a champion of individualism. This actually makes me more intrigued to try and understand the reading more because I know a little bit about the author now.

Although I am not a scholar….yet, I can appreciate pretty much anything that someone is passionate about. Another thing is that I feel like it was almost a different language compared to now in the older days. It is very proper and really takes work for me to try and understand. That is why I was immediately turned off by the reading. When I break things down, it makes much more sense in my 2017 mind. Thank the higher powers for google because it just completely helped me understand something I never would have if it did not exist!


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