Emerson's First Marriage

Emerson's First Marriage

Emerson's First Marriage

Emerson's First Marriage

Excerpt

Emerson's most dramatic acts, most influential writing, and most profound sorrows came during the fifteen years between his twenty-fourth and thirty-ninth birthdays; these are the years most important to an understanding of the man and the thinker. At the close of this period, which ended with the death of his son, Waldo, Emerson wrote that

this losing is true dying;
This is lordly man's down-lying, . . .
Star by star his world resigning.

Eleven years earlier, his first wife's star had already set. Their marriage and her death were the first dramatic episode and the first tragedy of the fifteen-year period.

New details of the courtship and marriage enriched Ralph L. Rusk's edition of Emerson's letters in 1939 and his definitive biography ten years later. In 1962 the publication of Ellen Tucker's letters released further documents concerning her and Waldo's engagement. Additional letters of the Emerson family have been available in manuscript for this study. Consequently, as many significant data as will probably ever be discovered now reveal what kind of woman won the young minister's love, and what the relationship between them was.

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