What is Transcendentalism?

What is Transcendentalism?

Readers have asked this question often. Here's my answer:

When I first learned about Transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau in high school English class, I admit: I couldn't figure out what the term "Transcendentalism" meant. I couldn't figure out what the central idea was that held all those authors and poets and philosophers together so that they deserved this categorical name, Transcendentalists. And so, if you're at this page because you're having difficulty: you're not alone. Here's what I've learned since high school about this subject.

The Transcendentalists can be understood in one sense by their context -- by what they ...

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the Americans had won independence from England. Now, these people believed, it was time for literary independence. And so they deliberately went about creating literature, essays, novels, philosophy, poetry, and other writing that were clearly different from anything from England, France, Germany, or any other European nation.

Another way to look at the Transcendentalists is to see them as a generation of people struggling to define spirituality and religion (our words, not necessarily theirs) in a way that took into account the new understandings their age made available.

The new Biblical Criticism in Germany and elsewhere had been looking at the Christian and Jewish scriptures through the eyes of literary analysis and had raised questions for some about the old assumptions of religion.

The Enlightenment had come to new rational conclusions about the natural world, mostly based on experimentation and logical thinking. The pendulum was swinging, and a more Romantic way of ...

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What is Transcendentalism?. (2011, April 3). Retrieved March 24, 2017, from http://www.essayworld.com/essays/What-is-Transcendentalism/97444
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"What is Transcendentalism?." Essayworld.com. April 3, 2011. Accessed March 24, 2017. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/What-is-Transcendentalism/97444.
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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 4/3/2011 02:46:11 PM
Submitted By: busezandar
Category: Education
Words: 828
Pages: 4

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