American Transcendentalism (Transcendentalism (humans are a part of nature…
related to romanticism
an emphasis on the supremacy of nature
influenced by Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
humans are a part of nature
controversial because of Genesis and the Bible which states that humans are
God is in all things in nature
therefore humans carry a part of God's divinity
and into nature you may find wisdom
believe in innate goodness
trust spontaneous intuition
since we can imagine the divine and the infinite without experiencing these things, the notion must be within us
innate goodness spirituality
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
advocated women's rights
became an abolitionist
believed in racial hierarchy as young
never supported slavery
lectured about a number of topics which was later published
reject the Trinity, original sin, infallibility of the Bible, predestination
poet and essayist
'the most' influential American writer
some of which became involved in social causes
abolition of slavery
e.g. the rights of women, labourers, prisoners, the poor, Natives
e.g. educational reform
influenced a number of writers and thinkers
led the American transcendentalist movement in the mid 19th C.
expresses his beliefs
regarding society, non-conformity, youth, intuition
thesis on intuition
'To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men - that is genius'
'Do not think that the youth has no force, because he cannot speak to you and me'
the youth does not conform and are more worth listening to
'Song of Myself'
puts 'myself' in the centre
form and metre (or lack thereof) reflect transcendentalism
'A Supermarket in California'
the 'Beat Generation' in 50s and 60s
back to transcendentalism?
Whitman is the companion
America is forgetting itself (in the river Lethe)
Emily Dickinson: 'A Bird Came Down the Walk' (1891)
strict metre and rhyme scheme
a line runs into the other
Is it possible to consider Dickinson a transcendentalist?
the theme might be argument for this
Emily Dickinson: 'The Bible is an antique volume'
Dickinson nicknamed this poem "Sanctuary Privileges." It's mad people's right to do whatever they like in a protected place. She owned the right to write mad poems
questioning established religious structures