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A Growing Nation Part II

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1 A Growing Nation Part II
New England Renaissance And Transcendentalism

2 New England Renaissance
1837 Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered “The American Scholar” calling for American intellectual independence from Europe Emerson challenged American writers to interpret their own culture in new ways A burst of intellectual activity called “The flowering of New England” brought forth an array of great writers and literature

3 Transcendentalism Most New England writers of this time were influenced by the Transcendental movement Major Players: Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau This movement arose from liberal thinkers who departed from Calvanism It became a literary, philosophical, and political movement

4 Yeah, 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 thinker American 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

5 Say what? Transcendentalism produced a native blend that was romantic, intuitive, and mystical For 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 soul Transcendentalists had a reverence for nature and out connection to it

6 Basic Principle # 1 An 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.

7 Basic Principle # 2 The 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."

8 Basic Principle # 3 and # 4 Transcendentalists 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

9 Walden Thoreau withdrew from society to live by himself near Walden Pond He felt intensely the Transcendentalists reverence for nature The 18 essays in Walden are on topics ranging from a battle of red vs black ants to the individual’s relation to society His observations of nature reveal his philosophy of individualism, simplicity, and passive resistance to justice

10 Fireside Poets William Cullen Bryant Oliver Wendell Homes
James Russell Lowell John Greenleaf Whittier These men represented America’s coming of age and are acclaimed as the first generation of American poets

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