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Transcendentalism, Anti-Transcendentalism, American Renaissance Poets

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Sammy Gilbert

on 6 November 2015

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Transcript of Transcendentalism, Anti-Transcendentalism, American Renaissance Poets

TRANSCENDENTALISM
1840-1860
History:
Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Nature" (1836) is considered to be the beginning of the Transcendental Era
Transcendental Club
Lyceum Movement
roots were in Unitarianism
WHO
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Self Reliance"
Henry David Thoreau
"Civil Disobedience"
TRAITS
living close to nature
importance
of the
individual
question
everything
(develop intellect)
beware
of
tradition
importance
of
following
your
conscience
self
trust
&
self
reliance
Common Themes
look to yourself for guidance, not society
individuality -- this is significant because this is the first
uniquely American
literature
New England
BELIEFS
the
oversoul
nature
is a
gateway
to the
spiritual
world
man is one with all men



all men are one with nature



nature is one with God



we must contemplate nature to become closer to God and our own Godliness
nature
is the
text
on which
we read
moral
truths
nature
is
the
driving
force
in
life
matters
of
reality
transcend
human
experience
ANTI-TRANSCENDENTALISM
1840-1860
WHY IS IT DIFFERENT?
disagreed with Transcendentalism that the transcendece with nature was good

"
"the dark side of Romanticism"
WHO
Nathaniel Hawthorne
concerned with psychological effects of sin
The Scarlet Letter
"The Minister's Black Veil"
Herman Melville
emphasis on conflict between good and evil
Moby Dick

Edgar Allan Poe
sought the mystical realm in the derangement of the senses
"The Raven"
TRAITS
limitations and destructiveness of the human spirit
heavy use of symbolism
Gothic Literature
mysterious/dark/creepy setting
bizarre or supernatural secret
female character (trapped/oppressed) that causes downfall of male character
BELIEFS
evil is the dominant force in the world
man
is
evil
by
nature
pessimistic
view
of
life
came to an end at the beginning of the Civil War
contradicted the idea of a universal brotherhood
and
that nature cared what we did
A New View of Nature
"the light side of Romanticism"
2 branches
What is American literature?
The literature during this era reflected an individual's beliefs rather than the collective voice. This is evident because although Transcendentalism and Anti-Transcendentalism occurred simultaneously, Anti-Trans. writers chose to express their darker views.
What are its distinctive voices and styles?
Unlike previous eras, this is the first time we see not only uniquely American literature, but also fiction. Anti-Transcendental works are known the heavy use of symbolism, dark, mysterious elements, and a pessimistic voice.
How does American literature create conceptions of the American experience and identity?
American Renaissance Poets
Emily
Dickinson

beauty
within
death
loneliness
spirituality
in
nature
fascination
with the
afterlife
characters
live
in
a
state
of
want
Works Studied:
"I could not stop for death"
"I heard a fly buzz when I died"
"God is indeed a jealous God"
"I know that he exists"
"I never saw a Moor"
"I died for beauty"
Walt
Whitman

democracy
brotherhood
equality
individuality
improve the future...we can make a difference
connect
past
with
future
bright
destiny
Works Studied:
"Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"
"Song of Myself"
The literature during this era is a great example of American individuality because the works are based off of the authors' own beliefs and experiences. Specifically, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote in response to his Puritan ancestor whose sins he believed he needed to atone.
How do time, place, and personal experience shape literature and our understanding of it?

This era is a time when America finally created its own literary voice, different from Europe. We are moving away from Rationalism and Reason towards more spiritually oriented literature that is rooted in the individual human experience.
How do social and political issue influence the American canon?

People are turning away from a scientific view of the world towards a more mystical view. The literature is now becoming fictional instead of factual. Transcendentalism specifically is filled with opinion and deeper meaning that requires individual reflection. There is now more than one way to interpret the literature.
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