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Transcript of Transcendentalism
"The Sage of Concord"
"I become a transparent eye-ball..." -Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
founded by Unitarian minister George Ripley
West Roxbury, MA in April 1841
Each day dedicated to manual labor and academic activities
Brook Farms School successful
inexperience among farmers
1844- conformed to phalanx model of Charles Fourier
1846- Brook Farm phalanstery burnt down
1847- Brook Farm ended
Emerson visited Brook Farms but did not join or support it financially; denounced it in his
Conduct of Life
Fuller also visited Brook Farms, esp. on New Year's Eve
Monday, February 17, 1854
Vol XCIII, No. 311
TRANSCENDENTALISM ON THE RISE
Henry David Thoreau
Born on July 12, 1817 in Concord, MA
Son of John Thoreau
Had a love of reading from a young age
One of five children (only 3 lived to be adults)
April 27th, 1882
Father was a Unitarian minister
His family normally restrained from showing affection
Boston Latin School
Harvard Divinity School
started to keep a journal while in Harvard
used in his later writings
1826 - approbated to preach
Delivered occasional sermons in Boston
1829 - became minister of Second Church (Unitarian) of Boston
In the same period, he married his first wife , who died 18 months later of t.b. (in 1831)
Crisis of Faith
Unsatisfied with Christian form of worship
"Address at Divinity College"
- controversial speech for the graduating class of Cambridge Divinity College
Went abroad to England in 1832 and met other writers, like Thomas Carlyle
1833- 1837: Attended Harvard University
1837: Opened a school in Concord with his brother John
1842: His Brother John died of Lockjaw
1843: Moved to Staten Island as a tutor Ralph Waldo Emerson's nephew
1844: Returned to Concord to work in the family pencil business
Life Events (Continued)
1845- Built a house in the forest
Planted beans, corn, and potatoes
Lived here for 2 years
Wrote a book while here
1854- Thoreau completed his most well known book Walden
1861- Contracted tuberculosis
Died on May 4, 1862
the attorney comes out of the din and craft of the street and sees the sky and the woods, and is a man again
. In their eternal calm, he finds himself."
Parts of speech are metaphors, because the whole of nature is a metaphor for the human mind
"[Nature] is made to serve.
It offers all its kingdom to man as the raw material which he may mold into what is useful"
transcendentalist thinker, philosopher
influenced contemporary American literature
- eccentric aunt who encouraged him to set goals and do things he was afraid to do
1811 - Father died, leaving family in poverty
Mary Moody Emerson
1833 - came back from England and settled in Concord, Mass.; became an active lecturer
worked for a transcendentalist newspaper that he edited from 1842 to 1844
Went to England for a second time in 1847 to 1848
On his return, he became an active abolitionist and delivered many anti-slavery speeches
Later Years & Death
"Katahdin and the Maine"
"Resistance to Civil Government"
"Slavery in Massachusetts"
"A Plea for Captain John Brown"
"The Successions of Forest Trees"
Worked for women's rights
Born on May 23, 1810
Daughter of Timothy Fuller and Margaret Crane Fuller
First of nine children
After the Civil War, Emerson's writings strayed from politics
wrote about philosophy
1872 - house burned down, marking the major decline in his health; suffered memory loss
died 1882 of pneumonia in Concord
Educated by her father, who was a lawyer
Miss Prescott's Young Ladies' Seminary
Considered a child prodigy
Learned several languages and read advanced works
"One farmer says to me, 'You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with;' and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with raw material of bones;
walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle.
Some things are really necessaries of life in some circles, the most helpless and diseased which in others are luxuries merely, and in others still are entirely unknown." -Walden, Henry David Thoreau
Believer in mottoes:
"That government is best which governs least"
"That government is best which governs not at all."
"Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government?" -Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau
Lived for Two Years and Two Months in his cabin on Walden Pond
"Living deep and sucking all the marrow of life" -Walden, Henry David Thoreau
Built his own Cabin on Walden Pond
Here he spent his days writing and observing nature, extracting only the essence of life
Wrote Walden from his experiences here
In Concord, Massachusetts
Was not a Hermit
Had no hateful grudge against society
Merely believed that
"if all men were to live as simply as I did, thieving and robbery would be unknown. These take place only in communities where some have got more than is sufficient while others have not enough."
"A large family is reckoned a misfortune. And it is a consolation in the death of the young, that a source of expense is closed" (614)
May 25th, 1803
"Those who who build on Ideas, build for eternity; and
that form of government which prevails is the expression of what cultivation exists in the population that permits it
"Every actual state is corrupt"/"The Wise Man is the State"
--> high opinions of men's wisdom and believes we need no government if man's moral character is high enough
--> moral character makes the State unnecessary
"Governments have their
origin in the moral identity
of men" (429)
"The less government we have the better--the fewer laws, and the less confided power."
1839- Joined the Transcendental Club
1840- became editor in chief of The Dial
1844- began working as a literary critic for the New York Tribune in New York City
1846- moved to Europe
Met and possibly married Giovanni Angelo
1847- gave birth to a son named Angelo
1848- was the chief administrator and served as a nurse at the Hospital of the Trinity to the Pilgrims
July 19, 1850- While returning to New York, Margaret Fuller and her family died in a shipwreck.
"The Great Lawsuit: Man versus Men, Woman versus Women"
Woman in the Nineteenth Century
Summer on the Lakes
Basic goodness of humans and nature
Nature, intuition, creative process
Sought connections between worlds
Mental, spiritual, and physical
Mind and hand
Looked inward and to the past for understanding of God
Did not trust organized religion
Human mind as ultimate reality
Primary law of life
People could rise above what left them behind
Resigned from pastoral appointment
He was the sole beneficiary of his wife's will
had enough money to live without needing a regular job
Ways of Acting on Goals
Used common belief to help social issues
Said, "To be a good minister, it was necessary for me to leave the Church"
that attacked formal religion and argued for self-reliance and intuitive spiritual experience
Carlyle helped Emerson create his own philosophy
attacked hypocrisy and material wealth; power of individual
Each work has its own impact
"Civil Disobedience" by Thoreau
Woman in the Nineteenth Century
Nature has spiritual worth
Big reform starts small
Supported war with the South after attack of Fort Sumter
The statute stands there to say, Yesterday we agreed so and so, but how feel ye this article to-day?
"But harder still it has proven to resist and rule the dragon Money, with his paper wings."
"The Crystal Palace is not considered honest until it pays; no matter how much convenience, beauty, or éclat, it must be self-supporting" (606).
"The Englishman believes that every man must take care of himself... To pay their debts is their national point of honor" (605)