The Relationship Between Romanticism And Transcendentalism

906 words - 4 pages

Romanticism and Transcendentalism have a relationship that is similar of a mother to a daughter. Certain traits were passed along by the writers but each era differed in their own unique way. The Romanticists believed that certain parts of nature are beautiful, such as life, but were disgusted by others, such as death. They also believed that God may be both a good yet an evil entity. Transcendentalists took the teachings of the Romanticists to the next level. They not only worshiped nature as God but were taught by it as well. They accepted everything as a part of nature (both life and death) and thus a part of life.Romanticism is an expression of the individual and of the needs of the individual. The romantic movement began shortly after the French and American Revolutions took place and rejected the previous ideas of the enlightenment. No longer would the decisions of people be based on the ideas of logic and reason but rather they would be based upon the ideas of emotion. People would decide what they wanted based upon their emotional needs. People did retain however, the idea that God may be evil and that the Church does not govern life.Transcendentalists believed that God takes a role in life and that this God is nature. Nature however, is beyond our understanding and therefore God is beyond our understanding. But, we can still learn from nature and revere nature. This contrasted from the previous ideas that stated that God is jealous of us (and steals our loved ones because of his jealousy) and that we should not worship anything. They believed that no person was higher than another and that we all are on the same plain. This is expressed in the first stanza of "Song of Myself." Whitman writes "For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you." This shows the equality among people as expressed by the Transcendentalists.The philosophies of Whitman and Emerson differed from those of romanticists. Whitman believes that everything is equal except for nature itself. Nature, Whitman believed, is above and beyond man and should be awed and revered by man. This view is shared by Emerson and expressed in his work "Nature." He states "To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature." He is explaining the vastness of nature and that it is beyond human comprehension.Nature, in the eyes of Whitman and Emerson, was to be revered because it was beyond man. In Emerson's essay "Love" he writes "Nature, uncontainable, flowing, forelooking,". This shows the admirable traits of nature which commands the reverence of man. The Romanticists had a different view of...

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