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American Transcendentalism “It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, ‘Always do what you are afraid to do.’” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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Presentation on theme: "American Transcendentalism “It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, ‘Always do what you are afraid to do.’” – Ralph Waldo Emerson."— Presentation transcript:

1 American Transcendentalism “It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, ‘Always do what you are afraid to do.’” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

2 Emotion Supernatural Atmosphere Nature Individual Subjectivity Transcendentalism Gothic Romanticism

3 Transcendentalism  Proposes a belief in a higher reality than that found in sense experience or in a higher kind of knowledge than that achieved by human reason.  Suggests that every individual is capable of discovering this higher truth on his or her own, through intuition

4 Deism  Transcendentalism also involved a rejection of strict Puritan religious attitudes  Unlike the Puritans, the Transcendentalists saw humans and nature as possessing an innate goodness.

5 Born Bad or Good? PuritansSinful TranscendentalistsGood Enlightenment Blank Slate

6 The Influence of Romanticism  The celebration of  individualism  the beauty of nature  the virtue of humankind

7 Transcendentalism  Transcendentalists believed that humanity was Godlike and saw the world in which only good existed  They chose to focus on the positive rather than evil & darkness

8 Transcendental Beliefs Intuition, not reason, is the highest human faculty Intuition, not reason, is the highest human faculty A rejection of materialism A rejection of materialism Simplicity is the path to spiritual greatness Simplicity is the path to spiritual greatness Nature is a source of truth & inspiration Nature is a source of truth & inspiration Non-conformity, individuality & self- reliance Non-conformity, individuality & self- reliance

9 The Transcendentalists  American Transcendentalism began with the formation in 1836 of the Transcendental Club in Boston  Magazine: The Dial  Brook Farm: communal living experiment  Ralph Waldo Emerson  Margaret Fuller  Henry David Thoreau  Bronson Alcott

10 Transcendentalist Authors

11 Margaret Fuller ( )  American writer, journalist, and philosopher, was part of the Transcendentalist circle.  Margaret Fuller's "conversations" encouraged the women of Boston to develop their intellectual capacities.  In 1845 Margaret Fuller published Woman in the Nineteenth Century, now considered an early feminist classic.

12 Major Transcendentalist Works  Ralph Waldo Emerson  “Self-Reliance” 1841  Henry David Thoreau  Walden 1854  “Civil Disobedience”

13 Anti-Transcendentalists  Nathanial Hawthorne and Herman Melville  Both explore the darker side of nature and human nature  Both consider life in its tragic dimension, a combination of good and evil


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