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Thoreau and Transcendentalism

A very brief introduction to the movement.

Christina PC

on 10 February 2012

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Transcript of Thoreau and Transcendentalism

Transcend (v):

to rise above or go beyond the limits
To be above a material existence
What is Transcendentalism?
A movement in the 1830’s and 40’s
Only lasted about 10 years
Followed/ was a part of the “Romantic Movement” in America
Also known as “New England Renaissance”
Ralph Waldo Emerson was the founder of the movement
Believed in value of individual
Valued emotion/ intuition over logic and reason
Believed people should follow “their own inner light”
Believed in “nonconformity” being your own person, going against the crowd
Henry David Thoreau- Emerson’s protégé
Walden- Thoreau went into the woods to live deliberately and discover his true self.
wrote "Self-Reliance"
Was a pastor
Wife passed away; was dealing with a lot of issues
Wanted to find a new way of thinking
Wrote essays and poetry
According to Emerson, the human mind is so powerful it can unlock any mystery, from the intricacies of nature to the wonder of God. To Emerson, “the individual is the world.”
This was a radical thought in an age that gave all authority to the organized institutions of government, religion, and education.
The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail
He opposed the government for waging the Mexican war (to extend slavery) eloquently in Resistance to Civil Government, based on his brief experience in jail; he lectured against slavery in an abolitionist lecture, Slavery in Massachusetts. He even supported John Brown's efforts to end slavery after meeting him in Concord, as in A Plea for Captain John Brown.

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