Text of American Literature: 1840-1860 TRANSCENDENTALISM
American Literature: 1840-1860 TRANSCENDENTALISM
American History Tension leading to Civil War Westward expansion railroads, telegraph Mexican War (1848) Industrialization
American Mind-Set Dissatisfaction with present time, optimism about future Technology and science will bring better times
American Mindset Loss of American values cheap labor, mill towns, child labor American individualism
Transcendentalism was in response to the American mindset at the time First major American philosophical movement Publication of Emersons Nature is considered the watershed (defining) moment
Transcendentalism Belief that humans can intuitively transcend the limits of the senses and of logic to a plane of higher truths.
Valued spirituality (direct access to a benevolent God, not organized religion or ritual)
Basic Principles of Transcendentalism 1) The fundamental truths of being and the universe lie beyond the senses and can only be understood through intuition.
2) The focus is on the human spirit and the spiritual relationship between humanity and nature.
3) Nature is a manifestation of the human spirit. The meaning of existence can be found through exploring nature.
4) All forms of being God, nature, man are spiritually united under a shared universal soul the Over-Soul. Ralph Waldo Emerson coined this term.
To ReviewTranscendentalists A deep faith in human potential Believed that all forms of being are spiritually united through a shared universal soul Popular themes in their writing include love and nature Known for their essays expressing their ideas and beliefs
Similar to Romanticism Nature is the key to self-awareness If you open yourself up to nature, you man receive its gifts: a deeper, more mystical experience of life Nature offers a kind of grace salvation from mundane evils of everyday life. Both T & R came to prominence around the same time. (Remember, TSL was published in 1850).