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TRANSCENDENTALISM & EMILY DICKINSON
Transcript of TRANSCENDENTALISM & EMILY DICKINSON
Transcendentalism is a movement that developed in New England during the late 1820s and '30s.
It is consider to be one of the
most monumental movements
religion, philosophy and literature
in American history.
At the core of this idea is that men and woman equally, have a
knowledge about themselves
and the world around them that 'transcends' or
what they can see, hear, taste, touch or feel.
SO WHAT IS TRANSCENDENTALISM?
Ralph Waldo Emerson
(May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who was
at the heart of the American transcendental movement.
WHO WAS RALPH EMERSON?
This idea of individualism is seen through Dickinson’s
life of social seclusion
According to Roy Harvey Pearce, "
She is simply and starkly concerned with being herself and accommodating her view of the world to that concern.
Ironically, for wishing only to be herself and keeping her reclusiveness in mind, Dickinson was following a transcendental ideal;
being an original thinker rather than a follower.
In Emerson's footsteps Emily Dickinson saw
man's spirit to be manifested or symbolized in nature.
appears widely in her work — as a scene of great liveliness and beauty, as the embodiment of the actions of God and the shape of the human mind, and as an endless source of metaphors and symbols for all of her subjects.
Her treatment of nature blends into all of her subjects.
Nature & Emily Dickinson
In 1850 Emily Dickinson received a collection of Poems by
from her friend Benjamin Newton.
This collection included the poems "Give All to Love," "The Sphinx," "The Problem," "Merlin I" and "Merlin II," and "The Humblebee," all poems
whose style and subject seem to resonate in her poetry.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO WITH EMILY DICKINSON?
As a result of Emily Dickinson's life of solitude, she was able to
focus on her world
more sharply than other authors of her time.
In her poems she appears to search for the universal truths and investigate the circumstances of the
human condition: sense of life, immortality, God, faith, place of man in the universe.
The publication of Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1836 essay
is considered the moment at which transcendentalism became a
major cultural movement.
It explored Emerson's
admiration for the natural world
, a world he believed to be infused with the
Transcendentalism believes in the unlimited potential of human ability to
connect with both the natural and spiritual world.
Keyed to this idea is a belief in the
presence of God in nature
The individual's soul mirrors the world's soul, and we can arrive at these truths by communing with the beauty and goodness of nature.
time in nature was the surest way for a person to connect with the universe, according to Emerson. He also argues that man should be focusing his attention to his inner self for guidance.
HOW IS THIS LINKED TO EMILY DICKINSON?
Transcendentalists were quite
critical of conformity
, or forcing one's behavior to match
- people who do not conform to a generally accepted pattern of thought or action.
For their time, the Transcendentalists were remarkably attuned to the needs and interests of non-white persons, namely Native Americans and African Americans.
Most of the
Transcendentalists became involved as well in social reform movements
, especially anti-slavery.
They spoke in favor of women’s rights and
encouraged protest against the government when its actions disagreed with the common good.
Yet, for Dickinson, the crucial religious question was
the survival of the soul after death
. She rejected absolutely the idea of man's innate corruptness. This was among the transcendentalists' core beliefs as they had faith in the
inherent goodness of both people and nature.
The grind of ordinary life and society (particularly organized religion and political parties) are seen as barriers between the self and the spirit and
ultimately corrupt the purity of the individual
Nature presents a way to free the mind of its typical distractions.
The very word “transcend” connotes moving beyond some stultifying condition of mind or body.
They have faith that people are at their best when truly "self-reliant" and independent.
It is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed.
Transcendentalism Principals Dickinson lived by:
: Emily Dickinson is remembered for her unique poetry. Within short, compact phrases she expressed far-reaching ideas; amidst paradox and uncertainty her poetry has an undeniable capacity to move and provoke.
: She led a life of isolation and thus thought for herself and looked towards herself for guidance rather than accepting other people's ideas and opinions.
: Nature appears widely in her work through various symbolism's and metaphors.
: Lived in isolation and only kept in contact with a select few. She did not conform to social customs.