By Leonard Unger
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Extra resources for American Writers, Volume 2
This is to say that Emerson characteristically in this paragraph and throughout this essay, as still in "Illusions" twenty years later, writes a very active, predicative style, one in which the structure is basically simple statement, for which both modification and connective addition are only minimally necessary, and the sentences are relatively short, the central statements relatively unqualified. There is scarcely another essayist like this among the famed of English prose. Closest to Emerson are sermon-makers like the preElizabethan Latimer, or Tyndale in his translation of Paul to the Romans, or narrative writers, the Bunyan of Pilgrim's Progress, the Joyce of Molly Bloom's soliloquy; and these are styles we do not probably think of as Emersonian.
He attended Boston Latin School from 1812 to 1817 and Harvard College from 1817 to 1821, where he kept journals of his reading and thought, and won prizes for his essays. Encouraged by his Aunt Mary Moody, Emerson early began to write poetry, on the victories of 1812, for example. He taught at his brother William's school for young ladies, studied for the ministry at Harvard, went south to Florida to cure a long-threatening tuberculosis, came back to more preaching, and in 1829 was ordained pastor of the Second Church in Boston, in the same year he was married to the young and fragile Ellen Tucker.
Yet his intuition that God need not be so modest could find expression in God's own voice in this hymn and thus raise the responsive shouts of a Boston audience. " This theme he still 14 I AMERICAN wanted to clarify. "His noun had to wait for its verb or its adjective until he was ready; then his speech would come down upon the word he wanted . " as his biographer James Cabot commented. He never spoke impromptu; indeed, in his last years, he sought so long for the right word that he hesitated to appear in public.
American Writers, Volume 2 by Leonard Unger