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Transcendentalism

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Transcript

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