3 What is transcendentalism? American philosophy that began in the 1830’sMostly consisted of New EnglandersStruggled with how to define spirituality and religionDeveloped as a protest to the general state of culture and society (disillusionment)Broadened into a literary and artistic movement as well
4 Characteristics of transcendentalism Transcendentalists believed that…God gave humankind the gift of intuition, insight, and imaginationThere is inherent goodness in both man and natureSociety and its institutions—particularly organized religion and political parties—ultimately corrupt the purity of the individualMan is at his best when truly "self-reliant" and independent. It is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed.
5 Characteristics cont. Transcendentalists believed that… The soul of each individual is identical with the soul of the world and contains what the world containsUltimate truth is within ourselves and within natureOur judgment can be clouded by outside forces (materialism)Social reform movements such as women’s rights and anti-slavery campaigns were worthy causes
6 Was a reaction to… Rationalism Manifest Destiny Calvinism (i.e. Puritanism)
7 Has its roots in…German idealism and philosophy, specifically Immanuel KantRomanticism, a European movement at the time that was liberal and also included appreciation of nature
8 Famous Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson – wrote essays “Nature” and “Self-Reliance”Henry David Thoreau – wrote book Walden (we will read an excerpt) and essay “Civil Disobedience”Louisa May Alcott – American author who wrote Little WomenNathaniel Hawthorne – wrote The Scarlet LetterWalt Whitman – American poetEmily Dickinson – American poetJohn Muir – American who founded the Sierra Club and devoted his life to the preservation of forestsLeo Tolstoy- Russian author who wrote Anna Karenina and War & PeaceJack London- American author who wrote The Call of the Wild and White Fang
9 Modern dayAlthough transcendentalism was a powerful movement in the 1830’s and 1840’s, there are still modern transcendentalists who exist.What sorts of characteristics might a modern transcendentalist have?-Protective of/interested in nature-Disdains materialism-Rebel/rogue-Doesn’t like societal rules or being hemmed in when it comes to education or religion-Chris McCandless, the main character in Into the Wild, is a modern transcendentalist.