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“An original relation to the universe” -Emerson. Transcendentalism. - A distinctly American movement that came to the foreground of thought in the 1830’s and 1840’s. -This was a sort of American outgrowth of Romanticism.

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Presentation Transcript
what does that mean
- A distinctly American movement that came to the foreground of thought in the 1830’s and 1840’s.

-This was a sort of American outgrowth of Romanticism.

-Also a rebellion against the Intellectualism and culture of American society at the time

(so in the same ways that the Romantics rebelled against the pure turn to logic or reason of the Enlightenment)

BUT

The transcendentalists had different beliefs.

What does that mean?
what did they believe
What did they believe?
  • Return to nature
    • There is a spirituality that unites and transcends pure reason or doctrine.
    • To access this we need to get back to the basics (living in cabins alone and stuff)
    • Or just experiencing nature, kind of like the romantics.
slide4

Strength of the individual

    • We need to be connected to nature, and thus become self reliant citizens.
  • Spirituality vs. Religion
    • Our relationship with God is more informal, personal and recognizes the divine in every human.
    • Goes back to the relationship with nature, nature can also be a spiritual experience.
even better
Even better…
  • The Transcendentalists had a lot of different philosophies, so it’s hard to define them all, but some focused on cultivation of thought and philosophy with the goal of a Utopian society.
  • This lead to experiments like Brook Farm (a commune in 1840)
  • And the most famous one… Thoreau’s Walden
who were these poets
Who were these poets?
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Emily Dickenson
  • Christopher Cranch
  • And Walt Whitman (though there is some debate about this)
  • NOT Edgar Allan Poe. He hated these guys.
    • Notice anything?