Date of Graduation

Fall 2016


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Matthew Calihman


Ralph Waldo Emerson, eastern, Islam, Quran, Hafiz, Mahomet, illumination, veil, poetry, wine

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


Ralph Waldo Emerson's interest in the east is evident throughout his essays, poems and lectures. He shows his fascination with the eastern cultures, religions and poetry when he quotes from eastern texts to strengthen his ideas, such as the notion of the Over-Soul, illumination, knowledge and nature. He regards the east as an ignored territory of knowledge that contains invaluable wisdom waiting to be explored by western thinkers. As the world witnesses an increasing gap between the east and the west, Emerson represents the universal way of thinking, as he believes in seeking knowledge in every part of the world and advocates for it. Besides the direct quotations from eastern texts, Emerson seems to integrate some of his knowledge of eastern writings, especially Islamic, into his texts. This work aims to explore the implicit references to Islamic philosophy and the Quran in Emerson's works. Through careful reading of Emerson's works, the Quran and Islamic philosophy, this work shows significant similarities between them. The similarities reflect Emerson's deep reading of Islamic texts, as he sees in them sources of new knowledge. This thesis unravels such implicit connections in Emerson works and shows that Emerson had read the Quran and other Islamic texts profoundly. I conclude that Emerson uses his in-depth knowledge of the Quran and Islamic texts to substantiate his ideas in his works.


© Mohammed Qays Khaleel AlQaisi

Open Access