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1. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Transcendentalism
2. What is Transcendentalism? Transcendentalism was a literary movement that flourished during the middle 19th Century (1836 – 1860).
It began as a rebellion against traditionally held beliefs by the English Church that God superseded the individual.
3. Core Beliefs of Transcendentalism Finding its root in the word “transcend,” Transcendentalists believed individuals could transcend to a higher being of existence in nature.
God is located in the soul of each individual.
Humanity’s potential is limitless.
Experience is valued over scholarship.
4. The Founder of Transcendentalism: Ralph Waldo Emerson
5. Emerson’s Early Life Born on Election Day in 1803 in Boston, MA.
Born on the same street as the birth home of Benjamin Franklin.
Father was a famous minister who encouraged young Ralph to pursue philosophy at a young age.
6. Early Trials Father passes away at age 8 and Emerson is left to support his four other brothers.
Ralph was asked to share a coat with his brother Edward to save finances.
Despite the hardships, all the Emerson boys, except one, graduated from Harvard University.
7. Teacher and Priest After graduation, Emerson became a school teacher in suburban Boston.
1823 graduated from seminary school and became a priest to follow in the footsteps of his father.
8. Introduction to Transcendental Thought In 1831 makes his first trip to England where he meets poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth who introduce him to Romantic notions of nature and philosophy.
9. Transcendentalist Philosopher Returns to Concord, MA in 1835 and writes his first important work Nature which describes how humans find God within nature:
“In the woods is perpetual youth… In the woods we return to reason and faith.”
10. Famous Lecturer Emerson went on to become a famous lecturer sharing his transcendental philosophy throughout the country. Among his quotable phrases:
“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.”
“To be great is to be misunderstood.”
11. Late Life and Death Upset in the 1860s by the coming of the Civil War, lived a quiet life with his family.
His house burnt to the ground in 1872.
Died on April 27th, 1882.
12. Requirements of Transcendentalism Unit Worksheets on Emerson and Thoreau (25 points each)
Textbook study questions on Thoreau and Emerson (10 points each)
Study Guide for “Dead Poet’s Society” (50 points)
Transcendentalism Project PPT (75 points).
13. Please stand for Think on Your Feet