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Transcendentalism “Truth is Beyond”

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1 Transcendentalism “Truth is Beyond”

2 Transcendentalism Unitarian ministers realized that society and government controlled what people did and that the individual person as God’s perfect creation, were capable of doing what is right through their souls and intuition.

3 Transcendentalism Movement called for new ideas in culture, religion, philosophy, and especially literature Also known as “American Transcendentalism” that emerged in New England in middle 19th century Movement began as an informal Boston discussion club, but its influence gradually rippled outward to affect the values and beliefs of Americans and US writers Began as a protest against the general established state of culture and society, in particular the state of intellectualism

4 Transcendentalism Core Beliefs
An ideal spiritual state that 'transcends' the physical and empirical, and is only realized through the individual's intuition, rather than through the doctrine’s of established religions Rooted in the transcendental philosophy of Immanuel Kant

5 Principles Idealism through the fundamental belief in a higher reality of ideas in a metaphysical realm of spirit, that is screened and symbolically revealed by the material world Pantheism in that there was no direct supernatural worship, but admiration and revery, via the natural world and its visible images, and focused on an ultimate “oneness” in which every individual thing forms part of an intricate and larger harmony Optimism through followers who were convinced of the essential goodness and purposefulness of life

6 Influences Kantian metaphysics Romanticism Puritanism
Platonism and neo-platonism Mysticism


8 Popular Transcendentalists
Henry David Thoreau Ralph Waldo Emerson Walt Whitman Modern Transcendentalists    Martin Luther King Jr.    Mahatma Gandhi    Mother Theresa

9 Ralph Waldo Emerson Born in Boston, MA.
Raised by his mother and his aunt, both practicing intellectuals. He attended Harvard College where he worked multiple jobs to support himself. He then was ordained a junior pastor at Boston’s Second Church. Began the Transcendental Club, where they published a journal called, The Dial. During this time, Ralph published his most famous work, Self-Reliance in 1842.

10 Writing Style Optimistic view of human spirit
Natural world held spiritual truths Highly charged (strong language) “electric” Themes of self improvement, power, fate, history, and Christianity

11 The Conduct of Life (1860) Essay broken down into sections revealing a sense of human togetherness and an awareness of man’s limitations Fate Power Wealth Behavior Worship Beauty

12 Henry David Thoreau Born in Concord, MA.
Taught School at Concord Academy in Canton, MA. But dismissed soon after. Went back to Harvard and graduated. Moved back to Concord where he met Ralph Waldo Emerson who became a type of mentor. Emerson’s works inspired Thoreau to spend two years living “simply” in the wilderness. Through his two years, he wrote Civil Disobedience.

13 Writing Styles Wrote about nature, history, philosophy
Literary style interweaves close natural observation, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore Poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and “Yankee” love of practical detail Idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay

14 Walden declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, and manual for self reliance Based on a cabin in Walden woods owned by his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emphasizes the importance of being close to nature. Materialists attitudes. Attempt to engage creativity with the better aspects of contemporary culture.

15 Civil Disobedience people should not permit government to overrule their consciences Motivated by his disgust for slavery. Government is more harmful than helpful and therefore cannot be justified.

16 Margaret Fuller Born in Cambridge, MA.
Her father taught her thoroughly, learning to read by the age of 3½ . By the age of 30, Fuller gained the reputation as being the most well-read person in New England. However, her father died in 1835, leaving the family dependent upon her, causing fuller to get a job as a teacher at Alcott’s Temple School in Boston. In 1839, Fuller gained a position at Emerson’s Journal, The Dial, as the editor. While at The Dial, Fuller wrote one of her most famous work, The Great Lawsuit.

17 Writing Style Feminist , women’s education, equal rights
Reformation of social levels (prisoners, homeless) Psychological well-being of the individual Believed in the possibility of change

18 Elizabeth Peabody Born in Billerica, MA.
Worked as an assistant teacher for Amos Alcott in the Temple School in Boston. After the school closed, she published one of her most famous works, Record of a School. She opened a bookstore, where she met Margaret Fuller and hosted a series of meetings called “Conversations” with Margaret Fuller. She then applied and earned the position of Business Manager for Emerson’s journal, The Dial. After the journal disbanded because of the lack of subscriptions, she opened up her own kindergarten.

19 Writing Style Woman’s rights
fine arts, history, mythology, literature, and nature Supported the education of children younger than age 6 (later became kindergarten) Anti-slavery led efforts for the rights of the Paiute Indians.

20 Amos Bronson Alcott Born in Wolcott, CT.
Father of 4 children, among them: Louisa May Alcott Teaching himself to read, Alcott spent a few years as a salesman in the American South. By the Age of 30, Alcott became widely known for his debating Thoreau. During this time he was also played a role in the Underground railroad. In 1834, he opened the Temple School in Boston. After his school disbanded, he moved to Concord, MA where he took part in The Dial, a journal ran by Emerson. At The Dial, Alcott published one of his most famous series of works, Orphic Sayings.

21 Writing Style Utopian socialist (develop the best powers of body and soul) emphasized the ideas of the school of American Transcendentalists led by Emerson Platonic philosophy, the illumination of the mind and soul by direct communion with Spirit Influenced the mid 19th century New Thought movement

22 The Dial American magazine published 1840 and 1929, publication of the Transcendentalists (Transcendental Club, included Emerson, Fuller, Peabody, Alcott) Outlet for modernist literature, vehicle for essays and reviews Viewed as a political magazine, heavily criticized Reestablished as a literary magazine in 1920 to include artwork, poetry, and fiction Published writers like Ezra Pound, W.B Yeats, E.E Cummings, and T.S Elliot

23 Common Factors

24 Works Cited Encyclopedia Britannica. “Emerson, Ralph Waldo.” American Transcendentalism Web. “The Dial: A Magazine for Literature, Philosophy, Religion, and History.” The Literature Network. “Henry David Thoreau.”

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