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Transcendentalism, Anti-Transcendentalism, American Renaissance Poets
Transcript of Transcendentalism, Anti-Transcendentalism, American Renaissance Poets
Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Nature" (1836) is considered to be the beginning of the Transcendental Era
roots were in Unitarianism
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Henry David Thoreau
living close to nature
look to yourself for guidance, not society
individuality -- this is significant because this is the first
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
WHY IS IT DIFFERENT?
disagreed with Transcendentalism that the transcendece with nature was good
"the dark side of Romanticism"
concerned with psychological effects of sin
The Scarlet Letter
"The Minister's Black Veil"
emphasis on conflict between good and evil
Edgar Allan Poe
sought the mystical realm in the derangement of the senses
limitations and destructiveness of the human spirit
heavy use of symbolism
bizarre or supernatural secret
female character (trapped/oppressed) that causes downfall of male character
evil is the dominant force in the world
came to an end at the beginning of the Civil War
contradicted the idea of a universal brotherhood
that nature cared what we did
A New View of Nature
"the light side of Romanticism"
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
"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"
improve the future...we can make a difference
"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.