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Title: Ralph%20Waldo%20Emerson%20and%20Transcendentalism

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Transcendentalism
What is Transcendentalism?
  • Transcendentalism was a literary movement that
    flourished during the middle 19th Century (1836
  • It began as a rebellion against traditionally
    held beliefs by the English Church that God
    superseded the individual.

Core Beliefs of Transcendentalism
  • Finding its root in the word transcend,
    Transcendentalists believed
  • individuals could transcend to a higher being of
    existence in nature.
  • The individual should experience Gods greatness
    through the beauty he has created (nature) and
    draw strength from it.
  • God is located in the soul of each individual and
    it is their job to find him.
  • Humanitys potential is limitless.
  • Experience is valued over academic study.
  • Spiritual, not material existence is essential to
    truly discovering yourself.
  • Simplicity, self-reliance, and individualism is

What is your basic philosophy of life?
  • What are your core beliefs?
  • Explain.
  • Do you believe there is a connection between the
    individual spirit and nature?
  • How is transcendentalism a branch of Romanticism?
  • Explain.

The Founder of Transcendentalism Ralph Waldo
Emersons Early Life
  • Born on Election Day in 1803 in Boston, MA.
  • Born on the same street as the birth home of
    Benjamin Franklin.
  • Father was a famous minister who encouraged young
    Ralph to pursue philosophy at a young age.

Early Trials
  • Father passes away at age 8 and Emerson is left
    to support his four other brothers.
  • Ralph was asked to share a coat with his brother
    Edward to save finances.
  • Despite the hardships, all the Emerson boys,
    except one, graduated from Harvard University.

Teacher and Priest
  • After graduation, Emerson became a school teacher
    in suburban Boston.
  • 1823 graduated from seminary school and became a
    priest to follow in the footsteps of his father.

Introduction to Transcendental Thought
  • In 1831 makes his first trip to England where he
    meets poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William
    Wordsworth who introduce him to Romantic notions
    of nature and philosophy.

Transcendentalist Philosopher
  • Returns to Concord, MA in 1835 and writes his
    first important work Nature which describes how
    humans find God within nature
  • In the woods is perpetual youth In the woods
    we return to reason and faith.

Famous Lecturer
  • Emerson went on to become a famous lecturer
    sharing his transcendental philosophy throughout
    the country. Among his quotable phrases
  • Trust thyself every heart vibrates to that iron
  • To be great is to be misunderstood.

Late Life and Death
  • Upset in the 1860s by the coming of the Civil
    War, lived a quiet life with his family.
  • His house burnt to the ground in 1872.
  • Died on April 27th, 1882.

Requirements of Transcendentalism Unit
  1. Worksheets on Emerson and Thoreau (25 points
  2. Textbook study questions on Thoreau and Emerson
    (10 points each)
  3. Study Guide for Dead Poets Society (50 points)
  4. Transcendentalism Project PPT (75 points).

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