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Transcendentalism Walden Pond, important Transcendental site Re-creation.

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Presentation on theme: "Transcendentalism Walden Pond, important Transcendental site Re-creation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Transcendentalism Walden Pond, important Transcendental site Re-creation of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Henry David Thoreau Ralph Waldo Emerson Margaret Fuller

2 Definition  It’s a philosophy, not a religion (Reuben).  Individuals must rely on intuition more than reason and experience – “transcend” the physical and intellectual world (Applebee).  A loose collection of eclectic ideas about literature, philosophy, religion, social reform, and the general state of American culture (Silva).  Emerged in mid-1800s in New England (mostly Boston and Concord),_MA%29.JPG Emerson’s home

3 Origins  German philosopher Immanuel Kant popularized the term “transcendentalism” (SparkNotes). Kant claimed that humans understood truth through reflection and introspection, not by studying the universe.  Emerson first expressed his philosophy of transcendentalism in his essay “Nature.” Immanel Kant Rodin’s The Thinker

4 The Oversoul  In Emerson’s essay “The Oversoul,” he asserted that individuals should rely on intuition instead of logic or the five senses.  When humans relied on intuition, they connected with the Oversoul, the great life spirit which connects all people. The Oversoul unifies and connects us

5 Principle #1  An individual is the spiritual center of the universe.  In other words, the individual is of utmost importance, and truth, beauty, and God are understood by first looking within oneself (Reuben). Focus on the individual All answers lie within

6 Principle #2  All knowledge begins with self-knowledge. This is similar to Aristotle's dictum "know thyself” (Reuben).

7 Principle #3  Transcendentalists believed nature to be mysterious and symbolic (Reuben).

8 Ralph Waldo Emerson  Emerson (1803 – 1882) was born in Boston, MA, the son of a Christian minister.  He attended Harvard College (now University) and later became a Unitarian minister in 1829.  After his wife died in 1831 (2 years after becoming a minister), Emerson resigned from the clergy.  Emerson wrote many notable essays including “Self Reliance,” which encouraged a spirit of individualism and “American Scholar,” which inspired Americans to develop a unique identity apart from Europe.

9 Henry David Thoreau  Thoreau (1817 – 1862) was a devoted follower of Emerson, and the two were close friends.  Thoreau famously wrote Walden, a book about his two year stay at Walden Pond outside Concord, MA. During that time, he built a hut and tried to live simply.  Most of the Transcendentalists were abolitionists, and Thoreau was especially outspoken. He also wrote an essay entitled “Slavery in Massachusetts.” Interior of Thoreau’s hut

10 Margaret Fuller  Margaret Fuller (1810 – 1849) had a reputation for being one of the most well-read people in all New England. In fact, it was believed that she was the only woman who had access to the library at Harvard College.  A talented writer, she edited The Dial, a Transcendental magazine. She also wrote the great Women in the Nineteenth Century.  Finally, she often spoke at Brook Farm, a Transcendental commune. Fuller notoriously had an affair with an Italian nobleman, bore a son, and then died one year later

11 Essential Questions  How do people express their personalities?  How do different philosophies influence our society?  How does Transcendentalism influence us today?

12 Works Cited "Immanuel Kant." SparkNotes. SparkNotes LLC, 2013. Web. 2 Sept. 2013.. "Ralph Waldo Emerson Biography." A+E Television Networks, 2013. Web. 2 Sept. 2013. . Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 4: American Transcendentalism: A Brief Introduction." PAL: Perspectives in American Literature. Paul P Reuben, 24 Oct. 2011. Web. 27 Aug. 2013.. Silva, Freda. "Transcendentalism2." English 11. GroveSite, 28 Oct. 2008. Web. 27 Aug. 2013..

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