This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Transcendentalism In Literature Essay

1324 words - 5 pages

The New England Renaissance brought out two distinct, yet influential movements known as transcendentalism and anti-transcendentalism. The two concentrated on intuition and human nature and formed a revolt against previously accepted ideas such as Calvinist orthodoxy, strict Puritan attitudes, ritualism, and the dogmatic theology of religious institutions.
Transcendentalism is a term rooted back to Plato, a Greek philosopher who first affirmed the existence of absolute goodness, which he characterized as beyond something of description and as knowable only through intuition. He laid the tracks down for others to build off of. The Scholastic philosophers were the first to add to Plato's theory during the middle ages. They came up with the transcendental concepts, which show the capabilities of all types of things. Essence, unity, goodness, truth, thing, and something were the six that they recognized. Still the term transcendentalist needed refining. Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, and Edmund Husserl formed a distinction between the terms transcendent, entities that are unknown and cannot be defined, and transcendental, signifying a priori forms of thought, innate principles with which the mind gives form to its perceptions, and classified their views as transcendental.
The transcendental movement began to take shape in 1836 at the Transcendental Club in Boston, in which the most influence leaders of the movement came together and published a magazine known as The Dial which was expressed their ideas and brought them to the public. Some of the attendees included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Theodore Parker, Brunson Alcott, and William Willery Channing.
If there were only one word that I could use to describe transcendentalism it would be optimism, because it seemed to be the philosophy that dominated people's minds in outlining the views to transcendentalism. The belief that basic truths of the universe lied beyond our senses was one such belief. Others included the fact that we know, through intuition, that reality lies beyond the physical world, and that everything is symbolic in spirit, making mature the place to find oneself. The groundwork for these beliefs and views can be seen in Deism (with the opposition of Calvinist orthodoxy) and in Romanticism (self-examination and individualism).
As stated above, several authors led the transcendental movement, but none were as influential as Emerson and Thoreau. They are the writers that you hear about in all the definitions of transcendentalism and in the flowering of New England.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, philosopher, and poet. He was born on May 25, 1803 and died on April 27, 1882. He graduated from Harvard in 1821 and was the youngest member of his freshmen class there at the age of 14. IN 1829, he was ordained as a Unitarian minister, and left three years later because of...

Find Another Essay On Transcendentalism in Literature

Transcendentalism Contrast Essay

1207 words - 5 pages "There us a moment in the history of every nation when, proceeding out of this brute youth, the perceptive powers reach their ripeness and have not yet become microscopic; so that man, at this instant, extends across the entire scale." (Emerson 180) During the time in which Emerson stated this opinion, a new philosophy or idea was introduced in American literature. The idea, Transcendentalism, focuses mainly on individualism, goodness in nature

Early American Transcendentalism Essay

1246 words - 5 pages Series 497. Gale Virtual Reference Library.Web. 30 Oct. 2011. Timko, Michael. "Henry David Thoreau and Transcendental reformation." World and I Jan. 2009. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 29 Oct. 2011. "Transcendentalism." Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1995. Literature Resource Center. Web. 30 Oct. 2011.

Early American Transcendentalism

1215 words - 5 pages . 2011. Timko, Michael. "Henry David Thoreau and Transcendental reformation." World and I Jan. 2009. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 29 Oct. 2011. "Transcendentalism." Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1995. Literature Resource Center. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. Williamson, Amy, and J. Wesley Null. "Ralph Waldo Emerson's Educational Philosophy As A Foundation For Cooperative Learning." EBSCO Publishing Service Selection Page. 1 Mar. 2008. Web. 29 Oct. 2011.

Transcendental and Anti-Transcendental are Important Philosophies

909 words - 4 pages Transcendentalist view, turned their imagination to the dark side of the human spirit and to the hidden evil they saw lurking in and around humans. Transcendentalism was an important movement in philosophy and literature that flourished during the early to middle years of the nineteenth century. It was a belief that people could transcend, or rise above a physical or a material state. Transcendentalist considered transcendentalism as a philosophy or a way of

Transcendentalism

1444 words - 6 pages Transcendentalism There are a lucky few in life that can simply speak their thoughts and captivate the mind. Many people, at the same point in time, stopped to ponder the same idea; Transcendentalism. Thanks to its in-depth philosophies Transcendentalism was a movement that affected mystics, writers, philosophers, and scientists such as Emanuel Swedenborg, and influenced literature, politics, and society even to this day. The

Concept of transcendentalism in Walden

712 words - 3 pages Walden is written by Henry David Thoreau, an American author, poet, philosopher, and a leading transcendentalist. The Walden is written in 1st person on how the author, Henry David Thoreau, was determined to find out everything he can about human nature. In order to do so, Thoreau moves to the woods because he believes that Society’s Normal concerns like, Money and material goods would block his understanding. Transcendentalism is a philosophy

Fall Research Paper: Book Synopsis

703 words - 3 pages particular author was also important; by examining the works of Melville and how they changed and were influenced by Transcendentalism, I got to see how Transcendentalism and its ideologies affected American literature and cultural identity in the 19th century.

Transcendentalism in the Beatles Songs

1950 words - 8 pages best defined, through these sources, as a philosophy that reality should be explored through spiritual means, involving a unique spiritual connection with the natural world around you. There are many excellent verbal illustrations of transcendentalism in the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds from their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. The Beatles mention many various aspects of transcendentalism within one song. The song

American transcendentalism

1448 words - 6 pages American religion, philosophy, politics, literature, and art. The American Transcendentalist rejected this empiricism, asserting that wisdom is inherent in the soul of each human being. The roots of the Transcendentalists' humanistic philosophy is that which exalts the individual as a reflection and integral part of God's divine universe.According to critics, American Transcendentalism was driven by the circumstances of nineteenth-century American

Jon Krakauer: Modern Youth Transcendentalism

1066 words - 4 pages . Into the wild. New York: Anchor Books, 1997. Print. McCarthy, Brittany, and Megan Newhard. "Modern Transcendentalism - Transcendentalism." Weebly. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2014. . S, Abhinav. “Transcendentalism in Modern Society.” Teen Ink. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. Thoreau, Henry David. Walden, or Life in the Woods. 1854. Prentice Hall Literature Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005. Print.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Man Thinking

1781 words - 7 pages validity of religious doctrines and protested the intellectual institutions that were in place. Transcendentalism gave America the literary identity it was looking for, and Emerson was the most prominent and distinct voice among the Transcendentalists. Emerson played a major role in steering American literature away from its traditional English background, and called the American citizen to action by promoting the idea of individualism and man’s

Similar Essays

Transcendentalism In Emerson, Thoreau, And Dickinson's Literature

1126 words - 5 pages Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Emily Dickinson, they all express their beliefs through their writings which consists of self reliance, love of nature, and “Carpe Diem”. This idea connects and incorporates the philosophy of “Carpe Diem”. In the film Dead Poets’ Society, the term “Carpe Diem” is the center focus of the movie. It meant to do as much as one can in the present and give little thought to the future. Both Transcendentalism and

Transcendentalism Essay

664 words - 3 pages Transcendentalism is a simple, yet complex idea. Transcendentalism Theme is written by Amelia Westplate.Transcendentalism movement in American literature, philosophy, and religion in the nineteenth century that originated in New England. It is thought to have grown out of the English and American movements of romanticism. A transcendentalist is someone who accepts the ideas not as religious beliefs but instead as a way of understanding life

Transcendentalism In America's Past And Present

610 words - 2 pages in different bodies so they can help him. They can be in any form that they want, need or desire. Chris's son teaches him that truly, "Thought is real, physical is the illusion."In conclusion, transcendentalism continues on today in literature and culture in America similarly to previous American literature from the past. Thoreau and Emerson wrote about different aspects of transcendentalism just as What Dreams May Come discussed different aspects, but they all come together to form one broad personal topic, transcendentalism.

Transcendentalism Essay

1592 words - 6 pages Transcendentalism      Many people have theories and philosophies about life in general. There have been hundreds of thousands of books published by many different people on the ideas of people in the past and the present. Transcendentalism falls in amongst all of these ideas. There have been articles, essays, poems, and even books written about this subject. Transcendentalism has effected many people since the