Presentation on theme: "American Literature: TRANSCENDENTALISM"— Presentation transcript:
1 American Literature: 1840-1860 TRANSCENDENTALISM
2 Tension leading to Civil War Slavery American HistoryTension leading to Civil WarSlaveryWestward expansion—railroads, telegraphMexican War (1848)Industrialization
3 Increased roles of gov’t, increase in industrial productivity American Mind-SetIncreased roles of gov’t, increase in industrial productivityTechnology and science will bring better times
4 Romanticism Nature is the key to self-awareness If you open yourself up to nature, you man receive its gifts: a deeper, more mystical experience of lifeNature offers a kind of “grace” – “salvation” from mundane evils of everyday life.
5 TranscendentalismBelief that humans can intuitively transcend the limits of the senses and of logic to a plane of “higher truths”.
6 Valued spirituality (direct access to a benevolent God, not organized religion or ritual
7 Basic Principles of Transcendentalism 1) The fundamental truths of being and the universe lie beyond the senses and can only be understood through intuition.
8 2) The focus is on the human spirit and the spiritual relationship between humanity and nature.
9 3) Nature is a manifestation of the human spirit 3) Nature is a manifestation of the human spirit. The meaning of existence can be found through exploring nature.
10 4) All forms of being – God, nature, man – are spiritually united under a shared universal soul – the Over-Soul.
11 To Review…Transcendentalists… A deep faith in human potentialBelieved that all forms of being are spiritually united through a shared universal soulPopular themes in their writing include love and natureKnown for their essays expressing their ideas and beliefs
12 Anti-transcendentalists Believed that the truths of human existence tend to be elusive and disturbing
13 TranscendentalismBasic truths of the universe lie beyond the knowledge we obtain from the senses.
14 Use intuition to find existence of our own souls TranscendentalismUse intuition to find existence of our own souls
15 Ability to experience God firsthand Emphasize spiritual unity with all forms of being (humans, nature and God)
16 Everything shares a universal soul (oversoul) The OversoulEverything shares a universal soul (oversoul)Giant Eyeball in the sky
19 Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau: Two Writers Who Changed America
20 Emerson and ThoreauTranscendentalists (the power of the imagination!!)Essay writers (non-fiction)Influence American cultureself-reliancepeaceful protestlove of nature
21 Emerson and Thoreau encouraged us to… Think for ourselvesDo our own thingProtest injusticesChange unjust lawsAdmire the natural beauty of our country
22 Emerson background 1803-1882 Father of Transcendentalism Harvard educated-ministerMoves away from religionHis son dies at age 5Writes essays
23 Emerson Your duty is to yourself FIRST, community/country second You need to be self-reliant…pick yourself up.Your imagination more powerful than a book
24 Henry David Thoreau Emerson’s friend, student Civil DisobedienceWalden
25 Thoreau Lived what Emerson preached 1817-1862 Social activist Two major works:Civil Disobedience, Walden
26 Civil DisobedienceRefuse to follow any rule that goes against your beliefDo not get violent, get quietProtest civilly…sit down, refuse to move
27 Civil Disobedience: influences Gandhi:Led a revolution against Great Britain without shooting a gun, or raising a fist.Martin Luther King, Jr.Led a revolution against racial discrimination without shooting a gun, raising a fist.
29 Thoreau our first naturalist! Emerson taught him to be self-reliant…he does this by going into the woods, building his own house and living for 2 years, 2 months, 2 weeksWrites about his experience in WALDENReminds us that nature is best teacher