-Finding philosophical support in the writing of Immanuel Kant, transcendental thinking and writers of Concord Massachusetts, believed in a single God that manifests in all parts of the universe.
Important Authors: Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
Same time as British Romance (1798-1870) and part of Victorian (1837-1901) and Realism (1820-1920). Also Existentialism (1820-today)
-Transcendentalists advocated self reliance and individualism over authority and conformity to tradition.
-Believed that institutions and organizations were responsible for corrupting the inherent goodness of people.
-In their writing, transcendentalists commonly reflected on nature as a unified divine spirit common to all people and community.
-Individualism, self reliance, spiritual growth,. Live in nature to attain this.
-Nature (1836) by Ralph Waldo Emmerson
Emmerson and Thoreau
Romanticism was too much preoccupied with the ego and aesthetics to work for change in the real world.
This newly enlightened, transcendent individual could go into the world and work to make it a better place.
The Transcendental Movement was nothing if not idealist.
Importance of nature
-His elegantly-crafted essays and war poetry still validate important universal truths
– A mastery of oratory, he is best known for his addresses: “The American Scholar'”
-wrote about hard work, the intellectual spirit of Americans, and the importance of learning about nature first hand.
-Encouraged readers to trust themselves and not the opinions of others.
– The spiritual descendent of Jonathan Edwards (conscious should compel life)
-Left the church for personal reasons
-Emerson’s elegantly-crafted essay and war poetry still validate several important universal truths.
– Also wrote Nature (1836) his first and one of his best books/centerpiece on transcendentalism.
-Wrote two volumes of poetry: Poems (1847), Representative Men, The Conduct of Life (1860) and English Traits (1865)
-Wrote Nature (1836)
-He believed that the poem should present concrete images that stand as symbols… in this he influenced Whitman, Dickinson, and modernist poetry in general
-Wanted to get to the marrow of life, immersed himself in nature at Walden Pond and wrote an inspiring autobiographical account of this sojourn titled On Walden Pond.
-He also wrote passionately about his objections to the interference of government imposed on the individual in “On the Duty of Disobedience”
-He was the second of the greatest transcendentalists
-He lived a hermetic life on Walden Pond to test his transcendental philosophy of individualism, self-reliance, and spiritual growth
– An to Thoreau’s Harvard graduating class
-Emerson defined the qualities of hard work and intellectual spirit required of Americans in their growing nation.
-Structured on the 4 seasons
Henry David Thoreau
-He wrote passionately regarding his objections to the interference of government imposed on the individual
-This essay inspired Ghandi and MLK
-Emerson asks “Of what use is nature?”
Emmerson says “Trust your emotion/intuition. … be a non conformist”