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Transcendentalism Introduction

A basic introduction on the origins and principles of American Literary Transcendentalism for a high school American Literature class

Emily Straub

on 9 March 2011

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Transcript of Transcendentalism Introduction

Definition A 19th century religious, philosophical, and literary movement, which held that there is some knowledge or truth that humans grasp not through logic, science, or sense, but through the intuition (feeling) of their divine intellect. Emerson calls intution "the highest power of the soul" Intuition "never reasons, never proves, it simply perceives." Origins Principles Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau Fall of 1836 – 1st meeting of Transcendental club
Boston / met for 3 or 4 years
Emerson was the most faithful member
High – level discussion
At first, mostly Unitarian ministers and ex-ministers
Then college professors, farmers, mechanics, merchants, and women
Young (20’s & 30’s)
Thoreau was the youngest at age 22
Wanted to improve the world Each person should follow his own ideas, even if they are not the “norm” An individual’s intuitive response to any situation is the right thing to do. Each person is:
Basically good
Capable of making good decisions
Worthy of respect of every other person  Integrity in the individual A spiritual unity of all forms of being with God, humanity, and nature,
and a creative force by which each thing becomes what it is Universal soul – Over-Soul Non-Conformity “Trust our inner light.” No part of the world is insignificant Nature Influences People Martin Luther King Jr.
& Civil Rights Ghandi Anti-Vietnam
& Hippie Movement American Transcendentalism
Full transcript