Presentation on theme: "A Growing Nation Part II"— Presentation transcript:
1A Growing Nation Part II New England RenaissanceAnd Transcendentalism
2New England Renaissance 1837 Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered “The American Scholar” calling for American intellectual independence from EuropeEmerson challenged American writers to interpret their own culture in new waysA burst of intellectual activity called “The flowering of New England” brought forth an array of great writers and literature
3TranscendentalismMost New England writers of this time were influenced by the Transcendental movementMajor Players: Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David ThoreauThis movement arose from liberal thinkers who departed from CalvanismIt became a literary, philosophical, and political movement
4Yeah, but what is it?Transcendentalism is difficult to define because it has many facets, sources, and encompasses a range of beliefs and principles that relied on the individual writer or thinkerAmerican Transcendentalists drew on a variety of thinkers and philosophers to mold their movement such as German philosopher Immanuel Kant, Plato, French mathematician Pascal, Swedish scientist Swedenborg, and Buddhism ideals
5Say what?Transcendentalism produced a native blend that was romantic, intuitive, and mysticalFor them the point was the “real truths” the fundamental truths lie outside the experience of the senses and resided in the “Over soul” or universal soulTranscendentalists had a reverence for nature and out connection to it
6Basic Principle # 1An individual is the spiritual center of the universe - and in an individual can be found the clue to nature, history and, ultimately, the cosmos itself. It is not a rejection of the existence of God, but a preference to explain an individual and the world in terms of an individual.
7Basic Principle # 2The structure of the universe literally duplicates the structure of the individual self - all knowledge, therefore, begins with self-knowledge. This is similar to Aristotle's dictum "know thyself."
8Basic Principle # 3 and # 4Transcendentalists accepted the neo-Platonic conception of nature as a living mystery, full of signs - nature is symbolic.The belief that individual virtue and happiness depend upon self-realization
9WaldenThoreau withdrew from society to live by himself near Walden PondHe felt intensely the Transcendentalists reverence for natureThe 18 essays in Walden are on topics ranging from a battle of red vs black ants to the individual’s relation to societyHis observations of nature reveal his philosophy of individualism, simplicity, and passive resistance to justice
10Fireside Poets William Cullen Bryant Oliver Wendell Homes James Russell LowellJohn Greenleaf WhittierThese men represented America’s coming of age and are acclaimed as the first generation of American poets