Transcendentalism, An American Philosophy Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass introduced the "free verse" style of poetry, reflecting the individualistic tone of transcendentalism.
The adherents to Transcendentalism believed that knowledge could be arrived at not just through the senses, but through intuition and contemplation of the internal spirit.
As such, they professed skepticism of all established religions, believing that Divinity resided in the individual, and the mediation of a church was cumbersome to achieving enlightenment.
The genesis of the movement can be accurately traced to and the first gathering of the Transcendental Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The father of the movement, an appellation he probably did not relish, was Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson lacked the vitality and desire to follow in her path. Though their hold on the public imagination was short-lived, the long-lasting influence that the Transcendentalists had on American literature cannot be denied.
For Transcendentalism was a distinctly American expression, with concerns and ideals that perhaps did not fully translate in England or Continental Europe.
A philosophical-literary movement cannot solve such problems, but it can provide the vocabulary to discuss them reasonably. On the most basic level, Transcendentalism represented a new way of understanding truth and knowledge.
The roots of the philosophy go back to Germany, specifically the writings and theories of Immanuel Kant. In contrast to the scientific revolutions which were daily adding to the store of facts, Kant concerned himself with the abstractions of existence — those things which cannot be known for sure.
He argued that individuals have it in their power to reason for themselves whether a thing be true or not, and how to fit their reasoning into an overall view of the world. Kant set himself apart from those who believed the senses to be perfect measures of reality.
He encouraged a healthy level of doubt and skepticism, but not to the point of nihilistic despair. Kant asserted that humans must embrace the fact that some things cannot be known with certainty, no matter how advanced science and technology become.
In addition to their heady philosophical forebears, the Transcendentalists owed a great debt to the English Romantics of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Many distinctly Romantic tropes echo through the pages of Transcendental literature. Obviously, the predilection to turn to the natural world for intimations of truth was a recurrent theme for the Romantics.
In Transcendental philosophy, the grind of ordinary life and society are seen as barriers between the self and the spirit. Thus, Nature presents a way to free the mind of its typical distractions.
Another strongly Romantic concept that the Transcendentalists embraced was the renewed potency and potentiality of the individual. Specifically, the imagination was glorified as one of the defining, almost divine characteristics of consciousness.
Through imagination, the human mind could extend itself in ways that had never been considered. Transcendentalists differed somewhat from the Romantics in that they ultimately wanted to effect change, both personally and globally.
Romanticism, generally speaking, was too much preoccupied with the ego and aesthetics to work for change in the real world.
This newly enlightened, transcendent individual could go into the world and work to make it a better place. The Transcendental Movement was nothing if not idealist.
Not surprisingly, the conflation of German philosophy and English Romanticism transplanted on American soil produced something quite original.
The fact that the United States was still such a young nation, still seeking out her borders, had a powerful impact on the literature being produced.
Emerson and his contemporaries saw a nation on the brink of discovering its own voice. Until that time, American literature had merely replicated the fashions of Europe.
There was precious little originality or innovation. Furthermore, the cultural hub of the new nation was firmly rooted New England. The Transcendentalists saw an opportunity to make a break with England and forge a new literature for a new continent. That literature would be bold and expressive, and a bit wild, like the land itself.
If the Transcendental Movement had a founding father, then he was most certainly Ralph Waldo Emerson. However, he only reluctantly adopted the role of figurehead. He mostly preferred to remain behind the scenes, observing the action but not participating.
Emerson was a man of deep faith, though in his personal life he was struck down more than once by tragedy. His first wife Ellen Tucker died of tuberculosis after just two years of marriage.
The loss was deeply felt by Emerson. He later remarried, only to lose the first child of that marriage to illness as well. Despite such ample experience of the dark side of life, Emerson managed to carry forward with a sort of resolute stoicism, if not optimism.Transcendentalism was an idealistic literary and philosophical movement of the midth century.
Beginning in New England in , various visionaries, intellectuals, scholars, and writers would come together regularly to discuss spiritual ideas. In the early to mid-nineteenth century, a philosophical movement known as Transcendentalism took root in America and evolved into a predominantly literary expression.
The adherents to Transcendentalism believed that knowledge could be arrived at not just through the senses, but through intuition and contemplation of the internal spirit. woman in 19th century what was recieved very positively among transcendentalists and women's rights advocates and is most certainly a pillar of first-wave feminism.
was transcendentalism a . Transcendentalism is a 19th-century school of American theological and philosophical thought that combined respect for nature and self-sufficiency with elements and the ideas that would become.
This video defines Transcendentalism, a literary movement of the midth century. Authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman used their literary platforms to. Transcendentalism, 19th-century movement of writers and philosophers in New England who were loosely bound together by adherence to an idealistic system of thought based on a belief in the essential unity of all creation, the innate goodness of humanity, and the supremacy of insight over logic and experience for the revelation of the deepest truths.