The American Scholar


The American Scholar

:"For the publication of Phi Beta Kappa, see The American Scholar (magazine)"

"The American Scholar" was a speech given by Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1837 to the Phi Beta Kappa Society in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was invited to speak as a result of his groundbreaking work "Nature", published a year earlier in which he established a new way for America's historically-young society to look at the world. American culture was still heavily influenced by Europe 60 years after declaring independence, and Emerson was, for possibly the first time in the country's history, providing a roadmap on how to escape from underneath that veil and build a new, American cultural identity.

Importance

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. declared this speech to be America's "Intellectual Declaration of Independence". [Cheever, Susan (2006). "American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau; Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work". Detroit: Thorndike Press. Large print edition. p. 80. ISBN 078629521X.] Building on the growing attention he was receiving from the essay "Nature", this speech solidified Emerson's popularity and weight in America, a level of reverence he would hold through out the rest of his life. Phi Beta Kappa's literary quarterly was named after the speech.

References

External links

* [http://www.emersoncentral.com/amscholar.htm The entire speech, verbatim. (copy #1)]
* [http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=526142 The entire speech, verbatim. (copy #2)]


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