American Literature: 1840-1860 TRANSCENDENTALISM

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  • American Literature: 1840-1860 TRANSCENDENTALISM
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  • American History Tension leading to Civil War Westward expansion railroads, telegraph Mexican War (1848) Industrialization
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  • American Mind-Set Dissatisfaction with present time, optimism about future Technology and science will bring better times
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  • American Mindset Loss of American values cheap labor, mill towns, child labor American individualism
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  • 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
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  • Transcendentalism Belief that humans can intuitively transcend the limits of the senses and of logic to a plane of higher truths.
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  • Valued spirituality (direct access to a benevolent God, not organized religion or ritual)
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  • Basic Principles of Transcendentalism 1) The fundamental truths of being and the universe lie beyond the senses and can only be understood through intuition.
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  • 2) The focus is on the human spirit and the spiritual relationship between humanity and nature.
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  • 3) Nature is a manifestation of the human spirit. The meaning of existence can be found through exploring nature.
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  • 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.
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  • 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
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  • 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).