They include the well-known essays "Self-Reliance", these essays made the decade from the mid-1830s to the mid-1840s Emerson's most fertile period.
Emerson wrote on a number of subjects, never espousing fixed philosophical tenets, but developing certain ideas such as individuality, freedom, the ability for mankind to realize almost anything, and the relationship between the soul and the surrounding world.
Emerson's "nature" was more philosophical than naturalistic: "Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul." Emerson is one of several figures who "took a more pantheist or pandeist approach by rejecting views of God as separate from the world." He took outside jobs to cover his school expenses, including as a waiter for the Junior Commons and as an occasional teacher working with his uncle Samuel and aunt Sarah Ripley in Waltham, Massachusetts. Augustine, Florida, where he took long walks on the beach and began writing poetry. Augustine he made the acquaintance of Prince Achille Murat, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Murat was two years his senior; they became good friends and enjoyed each other's company.
During his European trip, he spent several months in Italy, visiting Rome, Florence and Venice, among other cities.
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When in Rome, he met with John Stuart Mill, who gave him a letter of recommendation to meet Thomas Carlyle.
I wish to learn this language, not that I may know a new grammar, but that I may read the great book that is written in that tongue. In July 1835, he bought a house on the Cambridge and Concord Turnpike in Concord, Massachusetts, which he named Bush; it is now open to the public as the Ralph Waldo Emerson House.
On September 1, 1837, women attended a meeting of the Transcendental Club for the first time.
His church activities kept him busy, though during this period, facing the imminent death of his wife, he began to doubt his own beliefs.
After his wife's death, he began to disagree with the church's methods, writing in his journal in June 1832, "I have sometimes thought that, in order to be a good minister, it was necessary to leave the ministry. In an altered age, we worship in the dead forms of our forefathers".