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American Transcendentalism

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Title: American Transcendentalism


1
American Transcendentalism
  • Radical Romantics

2
Roots of Transcendentalism
  • Romanticism
  • New attitude toward nature, humanity and society
    that emphasizes individualism and freedom.
  • A celebration of individualism
  • A reverence for nature
  • The rebel (individual vs. society)
  • A concern with the impact of new technology
  • A fascination with death and the supernatural
  • An impulse toward reform

3
Transcendentalism
  • A literary movement, associated with Ralph Waldo
    Emerson, says the existence of an ideal spiritual
    reality that transcends the scientific is
    knowable through intuition.

4
Inspirations
  • Kant? Mysticism the belief in realities or
    truths beyond the present reach of reason.
  • direct communication or spiritual intuition of
    divine truth A transcendental union of soul or
    mind with the divine reality or divinity
  • Reaction to Locke? Empiricism sense experience
    is the only source of knowledge.

5
Catalysts
  • Erosion of Puritanism
  • Secularization--Science/Tech
  • Industrialization
  • European Influence
  • Access to Spiritual Ideas

6
Transcendentalism
  • Basic truths of the universe lie beyond the
    knowledge we obtain from our senses, reason,
    logic, or laws of science. We learn these truths
    through our intuition, our Divine Intellect.

7
Concepts of Transcendentalism
  • Natural State of Man
  • Divinity Within
  • Oversoul
  • Nature
  • Intuition
  • Individualism
  • Carpe Diem
  • Technology

8
Transcendental Beliefs
  • NATURAL STATE OF MAN--Moral
  • Society pollutes man.

9
Transcendental Beliefs
  • The Divine Intellectpart of God in each man
    intuition innate understanding of what is right
    and good direct line of communication between
    God and man
  • Divinity within Man

10
Transcendental Beliefs
man universe nature
  • OVERSOUL
  • man, universe, and nature are intertwined
  • Universal soul that permeates all beingsthe
    force
  • I become a transparent eye-ball I am nothing I
    see all the currents of the Universal Being
    circulate through me I am part or particle of
    God.- Nature

11
Transcendental Beliefs
  • INTUITION over Reason
  • Individual Intuition highest form of knowledge
    the creative insight and interpretation of one's
    own inner voices

12
Platos World of Forms
  • Natural world is symbolic of the spiritual world

13
Transcendental Beliefs
  • Reverence of NATURE
  • Nature is inherently goodsymbolic
  • The foregoing generations beheld God and Nature
    face to face wethrough their eyes. Why should
    we not also enjoy an original relation to the
    universe?- Emerson

14
Transcendental Beliefs
  • INDIVIDUALISM
  • True to own inner perception or intuition
  • Divinity of each individual, but this divinity
    could be discovered only if the person had the
    independence of mind to do so
  • Self-Reliance
  • Nonconformity

If I know it is truth, then it is truth.
15
Transcendental Beliefs
  • Carpe Diem
  • Death
  • Transcend

16
Criticism of Technology
  • Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which
    distract our attention from serious things. They
    are but improved means to an unimproved endWe
    are in great haste to construct a magnetic
    telegraph from Maine to Texas but Maine and
    Texas, it may be, have nothing important to
    communicate. (19)Thoreau

17
Transcendentalism
  • Basic belief By meditating, by communing with
    nature through art, man transcends his senses and
    finds beauty, goodness, and truth

18
References
  • http//www.jesuitcp.org/facultypages/rmcghee/Ameri
    can20Literature/Transcendentalism/Transcendentali
    sm20notes.htm
  • http//www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap4/4i
    ntro.html
  • http//www.vcu.edu/engweb/transcendentalism/ideas/
    introduction.html
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