Transcendentalism

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Transcendentalism

  1. 1. American Romanticism Society’s Impact on the Individual Writer
  2. 2. Changes in America <ul><li>Louisiana Purchase </li></ul><ul><li>Manifest Destiny </li></ul><ul><li>Mexican-American War </li></ul>
  3. 4. Conflicts in Emotion <ul><li>Patriotism vs. individualism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Should we support our nation no matter what? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Urban vs. untamed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contrast between settled cities and new wilderness </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wealthy vs. enslaved </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Expansion and industrialization led to financial gains, but slavery for African Americans </li></ul></ul>
  4. 5. Writers reacted by turning to nature and to the self for simplicity, truth, and beauty
  5. 6. Early Romantics <ul><li>William Cullen Bryant, Washington Irving </li></ul><ul><li>Reacted to Puritanism </li></ul><ul><li>Aimed to capture the energy and character of their growing country </li></ul><ul><li>Saw limits to reason and celebrated human nature </li></ul><ul><li>Optimistic </li></ul>
  6. 7. Fireside Poets <ul><li>Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes </li></ul><ul><li>Uplifting and romantically engaging </li></ul><ul><li>Family custom: reading poetry around a fire </li></ul><ul><li>Celebrated individualism, nature, social reform </li></ul>
  7. 8. The Transcendentalists
  8. 9. What does “transcendentalism” mean? <ul><li>There is an ideal spiritual state which “transcends” the physical and empirical. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a loose collection of eclectic ideas about literature, philosophy, religion, social reform, and the general state of American culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Had different meanings for each person involved in the movement. </li></ul>
  9. 10. Basic Premise #1 <ul><li>An individual is the spiritual center of the universe, and in an individual can be found the clue to nature, history and, ultimately, the world itself. It is not a rejection of the existence of God, but a preference to explain an individual and the world in terms of an individual. </li></ul>
  10. 11. Basic Premise #2 <ul><li>The structure of the universe literally duplicates the structure of the individual self—all knowledge, therefore, begins with self-knowledge. This is similar to Aristotle's dictum &quot;know thyself.&quot; </li></ul>
  11. 12. Basic Premise #3 <ul><li>Transcendentalists accepted the concept of nature as a living mystery, full of signs; nature is symbolic. </li></ul>
  12. 13. Basic Premise #4 <ul><li>The belief that individual virtue and happiness depend upon self-realization—this depends upon the reconciliation of two universal psychological tendencies: </li></ul><ul><li>The desire to embrace the whole world—to know and become one with the world. </li></ul><ul><li>The desire to withdraw, remain unique and separate—an egotistical existence. </li></ul>
  13. 14. Who were the Transcendentalists? <ul><li>Ralph Waldo Emerson </li></ul><ul><li>Henry David Thoreau </li></ul>
  14. 15. The Dark Romantics <ul><li>Does every individual have a dark side? </li></ul>
  15. 16. The Dark Romantics <ul><li>Inspired by nature </li></ul><ul><li>Fascinated with the supernatural </li></ul><ul><li>Didn’t have the same faith in the goodness of humankind </li></ul><ul><li>Aware of human capacity for evil </li></ul>
  16. 17. <ul><li>Freedom of imagination led them to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Explore inner life and motivation of characters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Include fantastic or supernatural elements in their writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You may recognize them as… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Edgar Allan Poe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nathaniel Hawthorne </li></ul></ul>

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