...believe the basic truths of the universe lie beyond the knowledge we obtain from our senses.
…pay attention to inspiration and insight
…believe God, humanity, and nature share a common soul
…believe nature is a part of the universal spirit.
…study nature as a means to self knowledge.
Thoreau Emerson Whitman Famous Transcendentalists
Henry David Thoreau
1817 born in Concord, Mass.
1835 became a teacher in Canton, Massachusetts. stayed for a year here
1835 he contracted tuberculosis and suffered from recurring bouts throughout his life.
1837 graduated from Harvard University.
1841 he was invited to live in the Emerson household, where he served as a handyman and assistant to Emerson
1845 Thoreau built himself a small cabin on the shore of Walden Pond
1849 Civil Disobedience (this book grew out of an overnight stay in prison as a result of his conscientious refusal to pay a poll tax that supported the Mexican War)
1862 died, Concord, from tuberculosis
Life in the Woods By Henry David Thoreau
Why did Thoreau write Life in the Wood?
What is Thoreau’s overall message about life?
How does Thoreau feel about progress and technology?
How does Thoreau respond to the comment that he should feel lonely in an isolated place?
How does Thoreau’s theory on living relate to today?
In Thoreau’s words…
“ I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I die, discover that I had not lived.”
“ If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.”
“ Only the day dawns to which we are awake.”
“ Let go of the past and go for the future. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803 Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts
1821 Graduated from Harvard
1826 He was licensed to preach by the Middlesex Association of Ministers.
1829 Emerson married Ellen Louisa Tucker; she dies in 1831
1830 Emerson became sole pastor at the Second Unitarian Church of Boston.
1833 Emerson has a crisis of faith, and his controversial views caused his resignation.
1835 Emerson married Lydia Jackson and they lived at the east end of the village of Concord for the rest of his life.
1836 Emerson`s first book, Nature , a collection of essays was published.
1882 Emerson died on April 27, 1882 in Concord.
Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson
How did Emerson share his philosophy with the public?
What is Emerson’s overall message?
What is the difference between looking at nature used for practical benefit vs. a poetic sense of looking at nature?
Emerson and Thoreau were friends. How were the similar? How is Emerson’s Transcendentalist view different from Thoreau’s ideas?
In Emerson’s words…
“ To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child.”
“ Standing on the bare ground – my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space – all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all…”
“ Yet it is certain that the power to produce this delight does not reside in nature, but in man, or in the harmony of both.”
1819 Walt Whitman born in Long Island, New York.
1831 begins job as Printing apprentice – works for several newspapers over the years.
1854 Send pre-published Leaves of Grass to friend R.W. Emerson. Letter of praise in return from Emerson in his second edition of Leaves of Grass .
1855 Self publishes the first edition of Leaves of Grass ( contains 12 poems).
1856 Second edition of Leaves of Grass is published (contains 33 poems).
1860 Third edition of Leaves of Grass is published.
1867 Fourth edition of Leaves of Grass is published
1870 Fifth edition of Leaves of Grass is published
1873 Whitman suffers a severe stroke.
1876 Whitman publishes sixth edition of Leaves of Grass
1877 Medically improving, Whitman embarks on lecture circuit.
1881 Publishes seventh edition of Leaves of Grass
1888 Publishes eighth edition of Leaves of Grass
1888 suffers a second, more severe stroke.
1891 Publishes ninth and final edition (dubbed The Deathbed Edition) of Leaves of Grass
1892 Walt Whitman dies in Camden, New Jersey.
Song of Myself By Walt Whitman
1 I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this air, Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same, I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin, Hoping to cease not till death.
Creeds and schools in abeyance, Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten, I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard, Nature without check with original energy.
Song of Myself by Walt Whitman
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me,
he complains of my gab and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable.
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
The last scud of day holds back for me.
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadowed wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.