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New England Renaissance. The First Major Literary Period in America. New England Renaissance 1830’s - 1850’s Called the American Renaissance if including Poe and others Northeasterners include Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Fireside poets, and Whitman. Transcendentalism

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New England Renaissance

The First Major Literary Period in America

slide2

New England Renaissance

  • 1830’s - 1850’s
  • Called the American Renaissance if including Poe and others
  • Northeasterners include Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Fireside poets, and Whitman
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Transcendentalism

  • A philosophical movement in New England
  • 1840’s
  • Philosophy, literature, reform movement
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Transcendentalist Philosophy

They believed a spiritual reality pervaded everything, like “the Force” in Star Wars.

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Transcendentalism

  • The Oversoul pervades all of nature
  • The Oversoul is within every human being, like a spark of divinity
  • A person can experience oneness with the Oversoul through intuition
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Transcendentalism

  • Such an experience is a Transcendental moment
  • A person alone in nature may experience a Transcendental moment
  • Note the influence of Hinduism and Platonic idealism
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Transcendentalism as Literature

Henry David Thoreau

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Emerson and Thoreau

  • Friends, colleagues, teacher and student
  • Harvard graduates
  • Fellow citizens of Concord, Massachusetts
  • Transcendental Club
  • Optimistic, individualistic, non-materialistic
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Emerson and Thoreau

  • Both were poets, but not good ones
  • Famous mainly for essays, non-fiction books, and lectures
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Transcendentalism as literature

  • The Dial, a magazine that published their essays, poetry, etc.
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Transcendentalism as Reform Movement

  • Strongly anti-slavery
  • Strongly for feminism
    • Margaret Fuller
  • Brook Farm, a commune
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