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Emerson, Thoreau, and Transcendentalism

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Title: Emerson, Thoreau, and Transcendentalism Author: Power To Learn Initiative Last modified by: Power To Learn Initiative Created Date: 6/15/2006 1:43:39 PM – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Emerson, Thoreau, and Transcendentalism


1
Emerson, Thoreau, and Transcendentalism
2
Transcendental Beliefs
  • A Universal Soul or Energy (Oversoul)
  • Essential Goodness of Humans
  • Corrupting nature of society
  • Perfectionism and Optimism
  • Symbolic aspect of nature

3
Emersons Major Ideas
  • Transparent Eyeball (Refers to the idea that one
    must empty oneself of previous ideas and
    experiences in order to see the proper nature
    of the universe.(Nature, 1836)
  • Demand for original American thought and art.
    (The American Scholar, 1837)

4
Emersons Ideas Cont.
  • Rejection of traditional values and ideas, in
    favor of ones own empirical knowledge about the
    world. This includes religious beliefs.
    (Self-Reliance, The Divinity School Address)

5
Symbol, Nature, and language
  • Emersons dictum on the nature of nature and
    language. (Nature,1836)
  • 1.Words are signs of natural facts
  • 2.Particular natural facts are symbols of
    particular spiritual facts.
  • 3.Nature is the symbol of the spirit
  • How are these ideas the dominant philosophy in
    American Romantic writing?

6
Henry David Thoreau Major Works and Ideas
  • Civil Disobedience--States that the only law men
    are bound to is the law of their own conscience.
    Also states that citizens have the right to
    peacefully rebel against unjust laws.

7
Works and Ideas Cont.
  • Walden (1854)
  • Themes
  • Environmentalism
  • Anti-materialism
  • Self-reliance
  • Critique of American Society

8
Quotes about Thoreau
  • Emerson "He was bred to no profession he never
    went to church he never voted he refused to pay
    a tax to the State he ate no flesh he drank no
    wine he never knew the use of tobacco and,
    though a naturalist, he used neither trap nor
    gun."

9
Quotes about Thoreau
  • James Russell Lowell "He was a Transcendentalist
    crackpot and phony who insisted on going back to
    flint and steel when he had a matchbox in his
    pocket a fellow to the loonies who thought bran
    or wearing of the substitution of hooks and eyes
    for buttons would save the world."
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