Antitranscendentalism

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Powerpoint notes on anti-transcendentalism and their beliefs

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Antitranscendentalism

  1. 1. Anti-Transcendentalism 19 th century (approx. 1840-1860) literary movement that focused on the dark side of humanity and the evilness and guilt of sin
  2. 2. Reasons / Causes <ul><li>Opposed the optimism and naïve idealism of the transcendentalists </li></ul><ul><li>Dwelt on guilt and remorse over past sins </li></ul><ul><li>Discontented with current circumstances in America (poverty/unjust and cruel treatment of factory workers, poor educational system, lack of women’s rights, slavery…) so they focused on moral dilemmas and society’s ills </li></ul>
  3. 3. Literary Works <ul><li>Prose (short stories and novels) </li></ul><ul><li>allegory </li></ul>
  4. 4. Key ideas / Philosophies <ul><li>Belief in the potential destructiveness of the human spirit </li></ul><ul><li>Belief in individual truths, but no universal truths, and the truths of existence are deceitful and disturbing </li></ul><ul><li>Human nature is inherently sinful (original sin) and evil is an active force in the universe </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the man’s uncertainty and limitations in the universe </li></ul>
  5. 5. View of Nature <ul><li>Nature is vast and incomprehensible, a reflection of the struggle between good and evil </li></ul><ul><li>Nature is the creation and possession of God and it cannot be understood by human beings </li></ul>
  6. 6. Writing Style <ul><li>Man vs. Nature conflicts bring out the evil in humanity </li></ul><ul><li>Raw and morbid diction </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the protagonist’s inner struggles </li></ul><ul><li>Typical protagonists are haunted outsiders who are alienated from society </li></ul><ul><li>Prevalent use of symbolism </li></ul>
  7. 7. Nathaniel Hawthorne <ul><li>“ As the moral gloom of the world overpowers all systematic gaiety, even so was their home of wild mirth made desolate amid the sad forest.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The Maypole of Merrymount “(1836) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Herman Melville <ul><li>“ All men live enveloped in whale-lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life.” -- Moby Dick </li></ul>
  9. 9. Melville harshly criticizes capitalism, slavery, war and imperialism, <ul><li>but he shows passionate empathy for “classes of men who bear the same relation to society at large that the wheels do to a coach.” </li></ul>
  10. 10. A final quote from Melville <ul><li>“ If, at my death, my executors, or more properly my creditors, find any precious manuscripts in my desk, then here I prospectively ascribe all the honor and glory to whaling; for the whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.” </li></ul>
  11. 11. One Last Dark Soul… <ul><li>We can’t forget Edgar Allan Poe! </li></ul><ul><li>Movie: Great books… Take NOTES </li></ul>

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