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Transcendentalism As An Important Philosophical And Literary Movement.

699 words - 3 pages

Concepts of NatureTranscendentalism was an important philosophical and literary movement in New England from 1836 to 1860. This new development portrays the belief that humans can intuitively transcend the limits of the senses and logic and receive higher truth directly from nature. Both Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were two writers who believed in exploring the spiritual meaning throughout the physical universe. They were influential in the furthering of the movement by creating such essays as "Nature" by Emerson and "Walking" by Thoreau. The two works being published together is what allows many to understand the transcendental prospective, while still respecting the slightly different views on nature of the two writers.Emerson's essay forms an abstract view on nature, that nature is anything outside that the writer can describe. But then Thoreau's definition has a more concrete and practical approach, that nature is the landscape he can always walk into. Throughout "Walking", Thoreau speaks of "sauntering" (p.71) as walking without destination. He believes that in order to appreciate nature for what it is, one cannot follow any kind of path, or follow any road, but he must wander and unify diverse terrain. In the beginning of his essay he says that, "He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea."(p.72) This proves Thoreau's idea that you cannot just look at nature, you must go out and experience it. This contrasts the writing of Emerson because he writes as if he were reflecting upon an experience, as opposed to taking a reader step by step through the woods as Thoreau does. In the beginning of his essay Emerson says, If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for the many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty,...

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