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One particular reason why Emerson is so different from other writers, especially in the American tradition, lies in his stunning affirmation of self over society. Prior to Emerson, there was not much of a literary tradition in America that so exalted the role of the individual. Emerson's theories and writings really praised and glorified the faith in the individual decision and notion of autonomy in exercise over the social hold of the collective idea of the good. Whereas much in America stressed being a part of the larger good, Emerson broke from this tradition with his idea that true understanding and identity can only be achieved away from others. This emphatic and emotional praise is one way that Emerson can be differentiated from those who came before him and can serve as a way to examine his impact on those who came afterwards.
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