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American Transcendentalism

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Presentation on theme: "American Transcendentalism"— Presentation transcript:

1 American Transcendentalism
Transcendentalism is a form of idealism that encompasses belief in intuitive knowledge, the indwelling of divinity in man and nature. The coming in of Spring is like the creation of Cosmos out of Chaos and the realization of the Golden Age. ---Henry D. Thoreau

2 Spring

3 A noisy silence

4 A lake that can calm our troubled souls.

5 Nothing is everything, nature says.

6 The world is on fire.

7 Is it beautiful or ugly?

8 American Transcendentalism
1. The first American intellectual movement to inspire a number of literary classics ( in Europe, it was a philosophy) 2. It stresses the unity of being---viewing God, man and nature as sharers in a universal soul-----Oversoul 3. It is a kind of idealism and romanticism

9 Puritanism ( New Adam and Eve) Man is fallen and can be saved by God
( Hard working, plain living and high thinking) The economic boom Spiritual liberation Transcendentalism ( New being with God and nature) Man and God and Eden

10 We cannot understand the
America of the nineteenth century without coming to terms with Ralph Waldo Emerson

11 American Transcendentalism
Leading transcendentalists ( reformers + idealists ) 1. Ralph Waldo Emerson-- the leader 2. Henry David Thoreau-- the doer 3. Elizabeth Peabody-- children-kindergarten 4. Margaret Fuller-- women’s rights 5. Bronson Alcott— adult education and labor movement

12 Emerson Thoreau Fuller
B. Alcott E. Peabody

13 Who are they? 1. The young men and women under 35 from the Boston area
2. Genteel and well-educated, Harvard graduates 3. Unitarian Church 唯一神教派 4. Teachers, lecturers, journalists and writers

14 What do they believe? God Nature Man Oversoul 天地与我共生,万物与我为一. ---庄子
I become a transparent eyeball;I am nothing;I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me. I am part or parcel of God. ---Emerson Oversoul God Nature Man 天地与我共生,万物与我为一 庄子

15 What do they do? 1. Talk and discuss---intellectual companionship and interests ( Brook Farm) 2. Work---living closer to nature and dignity of manual labor ( Thoreau) 3. Believe---human rights are divine in their right 4. Write---The Dial ( ) 5. Reform---human rights, women’s rights social changes

16 Where does Transcendentalism come from?
Philosophy + religion + culture 1. German idealism: Kant 康德 2. Goethe 3. English literature: Coleridge, Wordsworth, Carlye) 4. Plato 5. Oriental literature ( The Sayings of Confucius ) 6. Quakerism (教友派) 7. Deism (自然神论) The American frontier spirit ( optimism, individualism)

17 Brook Farm

18 Walden lake

19 Emerson’s grave stone

20 This is the place where Henry Thoreau lived alone for two years
and two months

21 One of the greatest American thinkers lies buried here.

22 This is the teaching of God and nature, as transcendentalists

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