Henry David Thoreau, Transcendentalism (American National Biography)

Walter Harding, "Thoreau, Henry David," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/16/16-01635.html.
Shortly after Thoreau's return from Harvard, he became acquainted with Ralph Waldo Emerson, who had recently settled in Concord. As leader of the American Transcendentalists, Emerson introduced Thoreau to his friends and their ideas. Convinced of Thoreau's budding genius, Emerson urged him to embark on a literary career, suggesting that he start by keeping a journal. Although he had made a few sporadic attempts before at keeping a journal, Thoreau on 22 October 1837 thus began the daily journal that he continued throughout the remaining twenty-five years of his life. Emerson saw to it that many of Thoreau's early essays and poems were published in the Transcendentalist Dial (1840-1844) and in 1841 invited him to join the Emerson household, ostensibly as a handyman but primarily to give him time to write.

Thoreau for a time idolized Emerson, but later, as Thoreau saw Emerson as more conservative and less challenging in his viewpoints and tired of being dismissed as an imitator of Emerson, the ardor of their friendship cooled. However, there was never a complete break between the two, and in later years they grew close again.
How to Cite This Page: "Henry David Thoreau, Transcendentalism (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php/node/17870.