Ralph Waldo Emerson was highly influenced by the Stoics (photo: Wikipedia)

The American Transcendentalists, particularly Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, where clearly influenced by the ancient Stoics, especially Seneca. I have explored such influence in Thoreau’s famous essay on civil disobedience, and defended him, so to speak, from some of his modern critics, such as Hannah Arendt. Here I wish to take up another influential transcendentalist piece of writing, “Self-reliance,” authored by Thoreau’s friend…