TranscendentalismTranscendentalism Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau.

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TranscendentalismTranscendentalism Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau Slide 2 Transcendentalism The term Transcendentalism is derived from the Latin verb transcendere meaning, to rise above, or to pass beyond the limits. Transcendentalism has been defined as the recognition in man of the capacity of acquiring knowledge transcending the reach of the five senses, or of knowing truth intuitively, or of reaching the divine without the need of an intercessor. Slide 3 The sources of Transcendentalism. Neo-Platonism German romanticism A certain version of Eastern mysticism Slide 4 Major concepts 1). It stressed the power of intuition, believing that people could learn things both from the outside world by means of the five senses and from the inner world by intuition. 2). As romantic idealism, it placed spirit first and matter second. It stressed essence behind appearance. Slide 5 3). It took nature as symbolic of spirit or God. 4). It emphasized the significance of the individual and believed that the individual was the most important element in society and that the ideal kind of individual was self-reliant and unselfish. Slide 6 5). Emerson envisioned religion as an emotional communication between an individual soul and the universal Over- soul . 6). It held that commerce was degrading and that a life spent in business was a wasted life. Humanity could be much better off if people paid less attention to the material world in which they lived. Slide 7 The transcendental club The Dial (1840-1844) Brook Farm (1841) Slide 8 Emerson s explanation to transcendentalism A little beyond pure reason inherited conventions the normal but low expectations for the self European cultural norms Slide 9 His works Nature (1836) The American Scholar (1837) Divinity School Address (1838) Self-reliance The Over-soul Slide 10 Henry David Thoreau Walden (1854) Civil Disobedience (1849) Slide 11 Meaning Can we live more meaningfully by living simply? What does the experiment prove? Perhaps it is a reminder that people should not forget the pleasure of living near to nature. Perhaps it is a warning that people who pursuing only material goals run the risk of missing the most rewarding experience life