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Transcendentalism Literary Period

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Alex Lupsan

on 27 August 2013

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Transcript of Transcendentalism Literary Period

Transcendentalism Literary Period
Events Occurring In America During Transcendentalism Period
The Transcendentalism era occurred from about 1836-1860. During 1836-1860 a lot of events occurred in America. Overall, the primary events that were taking place during 1836-1860 were pertaining to slavery. In America, during the time period of the transcendentalism, America was broken into two parts. The North also known as the Union and the South known as the Confederates. The North and the South had different opinions on slavery, which is a major conflict during the transcendentalism period. The North viewed slavery as “wrong”, while the South thought of slavery as being “amazing.” The North and the South would continue to have disputes based on slavery during this time period. Also, during the time period, many compromises were passed which benefited the North and the South. For example, one of the many compromises during the time period was the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This compromise wears off the effect of the Missouri Compromise, which stated that slavery can not be in territories about the 36 degree 30’ latitude, which is the north border of Missouri. The Kansas-Nebraska act as well gave a lot of power to the citizens to decide whether slavery should be permitted in the state, which is also known as popular sovereignty. Finally, in 1860, at the end of the transcendentalism period, Abraham Lincoln was elected as our 16th president.

Popular Literature
Transcendentalism was a social movement that developed in New England around 1836 in reaction to rationalism. It taught that divinity pervades all nature and humanity, and its members held progressive views on feminism and communal living. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were the central figures. Transcendentalism showed a new way of understanding the truth and knowledge. Henry David Thoreau contributed his own writings to the body of transcendental literature. Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was slightly associated with the movement, eventually developed dislike for their perfect idealism. Hawthorne would not have produced the literature that he did without the influence of the Transcendental Movement He wrote the novel, The Blithedale Romance, based on his involvement at Brook Farm, a Transcendentalist utopian commune. The literary creations of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman changed the balance of power in English literature. Emerson produces the novel “Nature” that proposed a theory of religion based on "intuition" explaining the religious sentiment imbedded into the nature of the mind itself. He argued that mind and nature corresponded in fundamental ways. After finishing Nature he had two important lectures at Harvard, which were "The American Scholar" (1837) and the "Divinity School Address" (1838), and summarized his developing philosophy in two volumes, Essays (1841) and Essays: Second Series (1844). William Henry Furness a minister in Philadelphia and a friend of Emerson's, published Remarks of the Four Gospels, a work that accepted the reality of the biblical miracles but resisted their relevance in the establishment or proof of the truth of Christianity. In 1836 that Amos Bronson Alcott who became one of Emerson's closest friends, published his Conversations with Children on the Gospels, a book that grew out of his work at his experimental Temple School in Boston. Alcott prefaced his work with a treatise titled "The Doctrine and Discipline of Human Culture”. A clearer record of the thinking of the transcendentalist group can be found in the four-year run of The Dial (1840–1844), a journal edited by Margaret Fuller (1810–1850) and Emerson. The Dial is one of the more important legacies of the transcendental movement. It gave voice to people like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Theodore Parker, Amos Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, Jones Very, Christopher Pearse Cranch, and Henry David Thoreau. Her most significant Dial publication followed in 1843, an essay on women's rights titled "The Great Lawsuit: Man versus Men, Woman versus Women." She expanded this essay into the book Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845), her most important work and a historically significant articulation of the argument for women's rights. Those are all of the most popular literature pieces in the transcendentalist period.

Transcendentalism Background
Transcendentalism originated in Europe, but was considered an abstract philosophical idea. As it soon started to make a big impact in Massachusetts, transcendentalism became crucial to the culture of the United States. It is thought that the whole idea of romanticism is what made the United States. The most well-known author of this era is Ralph Waldo Emerson. One of his pieces, Nature, was the basis of his spiritual philosophy and is considered the “catalyst” for transcendentalism. The book attracted much attention and sold well. He had his own way of giving the world his philosophy for optimism about human potential growth and self-realization. He inspired many other people as well. Transcendentalism was never a formal, unified movement. It was basically a group of people with ideas about human philosophy. It was controversial because the transcendentalists challenged the common thoughts of American culture, such as Christianity which was almost universally accepted at the time. They believed that God was a part of everything, so there was no need to go to the church when there was nature. They also believed each person had their own divinity, and that Jesus was no different than anyone else. Nature, artistic expression, and the idea that humans can gain knowledge about the world had made it so that its ideas were widely accepted.

Brief Video
Thanks for listening to our presentation!

-Alex, Nadine, and Shahrin
Developed in New England

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Henry David Thoreau
Nathaniel Hawthorne
One of the most important legacies of the transcendental time
Full transcript