3 What does “transcendentalism” mean? Belief in a higher kind of knowledge than can be achieved by human reasonA loose collection of eclectic ideas about literature, philosophy, religion, social reform, and the general state of American culture.Transcendentalism had different meanings for each person involved in the movement.
4 -Web of American Transcendentalism. “From , literature in America experienced a rebirth called the New England Renaissance. Through their poetry, short stories, novels, and other works, writers during this period established a clear American voice. No longer did they see their work as less influential than that of European authors. Transcendentalism was a part of this “flowering” of American literature. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were important voices in this philosophical movement that sought to have individuals “transcend” to a higher spiritual level. To achieve this goal, the individual had to seek spiritual, not material, greatness and the essential truths of life through intuition. Emerson was the philosopher and teacher. Thoreau was the student and the practitioner.”-Web of American Transcendentalism.
6 Basic Premise #1 OVERSOUL Man, universe and nature are intertwined. All three share the same soul.A universal spirit to which all things return after deathProposed by Emerson
7 Basic Premise #2OPTIMISTICAll is goodEvil is an illusion
8 Basic Premise #3 INDIVIDUALISM Non-conformity Free thought Self-relianceBe true to one’s own inner perception or intuitionUnlimited potential of each individual (confidence)
9 Basic Premise #4 NATURE IS TRUTH. It can be a guide to higher understanding.Symbolizes God or the inner life of human beings
10 Who were the Transcendentalists? Ralph Waldo EmersonHenry David ThoreauAmos Bronson AlcottMargaret FullerEllery Channing
11 Where did it come from?Ralph Waldo Emerson gave German philosopher Immanuel Kant credit for popularizing the term “transcendentalism.” (1700s)It began as a reform movement in the Unitarian church (encourages people to find their own spirituality)It is not a religion—more accurately, it is a philosophy or form of spirituality.It centered around Boston and Concord, MA. in the mid-1800’s.Emerson first expressed his philosophy of transcendentalism in his essay Nature.
12 Who was Immanuel Kant? Russian philosopher influential in Germany Believed everything is acquired through experience but reason plays a major role
13 Development in the USEmerson and the Transcendentalists led the search for truthIn natureThrough self-relianceTranscendentalism began with a few and grewThis philosophy lasted for several years in New EnglandEnded as the Civil War began
14 Roots of Transcendentalism PuritanismBelief in God as a powerful forceBelief that each individual can experience God first-handRomanticismPlaced central importance on emotions and the individualEmphasized intuition and inner perception of truth that differs from reasonEmphasized nature’s beauty, strangeness, and mysteryEmphasized individual expression and artistic freedom
15 Ralph Waldo EmersonUnitarian minister- resigned after 3 yearsPoet and essayistFounded the Transcendental ClubPopular lecturerBanned from Harvard for 40 years following his Divinity School addressSupporter of abolitionismWrote Nature andSelf-Reliance
16 Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862 Schoolteacher, essayist, poet Most famous for Walden and Civil DisobedienceInfluenced environmental movementSupporter of abolitionism
17 Amos Bronson Alcott 1799-1888 Teacher and writer Founder of Temple School and FruitlandsIntroduced art, music, P.E., nature study, and field trips; banished corporal punishmentFather of novelist Louisa May Alcott
18 Margaret Fuller 1810-1850 Journalist, critic, women’s rights activist First editor of The Dial, a transcendental journalFirst female journalist to work on a major newspaper—The New York TribuneTaught at Alcott’s Temple School
19 Ellery Channing 1818-1901 Poet and especially close friend of Thoreau Published the first biography of Thoreau in 1873—Thoreau, The Poet-Naturalist
20 Review Non-Conformity Self-Reliance Free Thought Confidence Importance of Nature
21 Read Emerson Biography p. 388 Nature- p. 390 Answer Questions
28 Who was Henry David Thoreau? Read p. 404Read Walden p. 407
29 Michael Scott: Survivor Man What did Michael Scott hope to achieve by going out to the wilderness?How does this compare to Thoreau’s choice to live on Walden Pond and his motivation?
30 Walden“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them…” (Thoreau 412).“Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises?
31 What is civil disobedience? The deliberate and public refusal to obey laws that violate one’s personal principlesThoreau believed the government was an impediment to the productivity and achievements of the American peopleDo you agree?How can you have your voices heard in government?
36 After Reading What is Thoreau’s claim, warrant and impact? What motto does Thoreau accept?How would he like to see that motto implemented?How does Thoreau define the best possible kind of government?
37 Reflect on PROTEST lesson Where have we seen examples of protest in the past quarter?Do you believe Thoreau’s “protest” is valid and impactful?