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Transcendentalism Intro.

Background for American Transcendentalism Unit

Erica Muchow

on 20 November 2017

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Transcript of Transcendentalism Intro.

What is Transcendentalism?
a philosophical, spiritual, and literary movement that flourished in the U.S. in the decades before the Civil War
Is Transcendentalism the same as Romanticism?
Not quite.
They both emphasize the power of imagination & the individual. They both believe in Nature's divinity.
BUT --
Who Started it? And Why?
Was there anyone else who helped the movement?
Emerson maintained a close circle of followers and friends. The most well-known (and youngest) of his followers was Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau became Emerson's main pupil.
Are there any modern transcendentalists?
Absolutely! The ideas of Transcendentalism inspired many individuals and still does today.
Transcendentalism was a way of life. Their beliefs dictated their daily actions, whereas Romantics simply adopted a new way of thinking.

Also, the forms of writing were different.
- Romantics wrote short stories & novels.
- Transcendentalists wrote essays & nonfiction.
What do i need to know about him?
Emerson published essays about Transcendentalism & lectured about its value.

Thoreau took those beliefs and lived his life according to them. His most famous work is Walden, a nonfiction novel that describes his time alone in nature at Walden Pond.
to go beyond the limits; exceed; be above & independent of the physical universe

Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with founding Transcendentalism. Emerson was an educated man who served as a Unitarian minister until, troubled by theological doctrine, he split from Christianity to found his own philosophy.

All living things are connected and are part of the Oversoul. God is everywhere.
Through spiritual reflection, any person
can access divinity (Nature).
Living off of what Nature provides.
Things are not important.
Society corrupts the individual.
Every person must be independent & self-reliant

What are the core beliefs for all transcendentalists?
Watch this video and identify...
- symptoms of affluenza
- evidence of transcendentalism
The beliefs behind Transcendentalism were not new, however. Emerson drew upon his Unitarian (Christian) background as well as the ancient ideas of Greek philosophy, Hinduism, and other sources.
Full transcript