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Tuesday, April 5. Short notes on Transcendentalism Overview and summary of “The American Scholar” by Emerson Discussion questions Group discussion No homework. Romanticism  Transcendentalism .

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tuesday april 5
Tuesday, April 5
  • Short notes on Transcendentalism
  • Overview and summary of “The American Scholar” by Emerson
  • Discussion questions
  • Group discussion
  • No homework
romanticism transcendentalism
Romanticism Transcendentalism
  • Transcendental movement may be described as a slightly later, American outgrowth of romanticism.
  • Rooted in Kant’s belief that “all knowledge is transcendental which is concerned not with objects but with our mode of knowing objects”
    • Romanticism  feeling, individual perception
    • German idealism and optimism
    • Hindu thought
emerson s definition
Emerson’s Definition

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (1836)

"Standing on the bare ground,--my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,--all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball. I am nothing. I see all. The currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God" (996).

transcendentalism 1835 ish to 1850 ish
Transcendentalism – 1835ish to 1850ish
  • Belief in an ideal spiritually that “transcends” the physical and is realized through the individual’s intuition.
  • Search for truth.
transcendental club
Transcendental Club
  • The club was a meeting-place for these young thinkers and an organizing ground for their idealist frustration with the general state of American culture and society at the time.
  • Transcendentalism\'s “Flowers”
    • Utopianism
    • Socialism
    • Women’s rights
    • “free love”
    • Abolitionism
    • Environmentalism
henry david thoreau 1817 1862
Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862
  • Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings
  • Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government
  • "I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government”
  • “That government is best which governs not at all;\' and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."
ralph waldo emerson 1803 1882
Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882
  • Champion of individualism.
  • Emerson wrote on a number of subjects, developing certain ideas such as individuality, freedom, the ability for man to realize almost anything, and the relationship between the soul and the surrounding world.
  • Philosophy of Transcendentalism discussed in his 1836 essay, Nature.
  • A year later, on August 31, 1837, Emerson delivered his now-famous Phi Beta Kappa address, "The American Scholar”.
the american scholar
“The American Scholar”
  • At the time, women were barred from higher education, and scholarship was reserved exclusively for men.
  • America\'s "Intellectual Declaration of Independence”.
  • Emerson urged Americans to create a writing style all their own and free from Europe.
  • A student at Harvard called it, "an event without former parallel”.
  • Another member of the audience, Reverend John Pierce, called it "an apparently incoherent and unintelligible address”.
the american scholar 1837
“The American Scholar” 1837
  • The text begins with an introduction (paragraphs 1-6) in which Emerson explains that his intent is to explore the scholar as one function of the whole human being: The scholar is "Man Thinking."
  • The remainder of the essay is organized into four sections:
    • The influence of nature (paragraphs 7 and 8)
    • The influence of the past and books (paragraphs 9 -18)
    • The influence of action on the education of the thinking man (paragraphs 19-27)
    • In the last section (paragraphs 28-41), Emerson considers the duties of the scholar and then discusses his views of America in his own time.
number the paragraphs of the essay 1 41
Number the paragraphs of the essay 1-41
  • Page 1 -1 to 6
  • Page 2 – 6 to 11
  • Page 3 – 11 to 16
  • Page 4 – 16 to 21
  • Page 5 – 21 to 27
  • Page 6 – 27 to 29
  • Page 7 – 30 to 33
  • Page 8 – 33 to 99
  • Page 9 – 40 and 41
discussion activity
Discussion Activity
  • I will assign you an example of Transcendentalism to focus on (from the chart handout).
      • Find quotes and examples and provide explanations.
  • After you have finished step 1, answer the questions on the handout.
  • Cite examples using page and paragraph #
  • Turn in one handout per group (make sure all group member names are on it). Please get into groups of 3 – 4.
discussion of the american scholar
Discussion of “The American Scholar”
  • You will lead the discussion for your group’s assigned questions.
  • Everyone should participate in the discussion, even if it’s not your group’s assigned question.
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